WASHINGTON – It is one of the highest-profile cases the Supreme Court will hear this year, and one of the men arguing it on Dec. 5 is prepared to say that terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are getting all the legal rights that they deserve.
United States Solicitor General Paul Clement recently gave FOX News a glimpse at the upcoming case that challenges the military tribunals Congress established for Guantanamo Bay detainees.
As solicitor general, Clement frequently argues on behalf of the United States in front of the Supreme Court. In his brief to the court, Clement wrote that the detainees have no connection to the United States yet enjoy legal safeguards afforded to them by Congress.
In short, detainees "enjoy more procedural protections than any other captured enemy combatants in the history of warfare."
Lawyers David Cynamon and Seth Waxman are representing two of the detainees, Khaled al Odah and Lakhdar Boumediene. The attorneys offer a different view of the situation. They say the current military tribunal system is on its face unconstitutional.
They argue because the detainees are under the authority of the United States they must be granted the basic right of habeas corpus, or the right to have their imprisonment heard by a court. They contend military tribunal "review is not an adequate substitute for habeas."
Without outlining his coming argument, Clement said the key legal issues over the entire detainee program are now "teed up" before the Supreme Court, and the justices should be in a position to definitively determine if the prisoners are constitutionally entitled to access the American court system or if military tribunals established by Congress are legally sufficient.
Clement, speaking at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., also noted that the issue has twice before appeared in front of the high court, and after each ruling, Congress responded with legislation. The most recent law formally established the military tribunals.