Paul Clement has been solicitor general of the United States for less than a year, so he was suspicious when he heard that Georgetown University Law Center’s Supreme Court Institute wanted to honor him at its annual reception recently. It sounded valedictory, Clement said. “I thought you knew something I didn’t know,” he told the crowd with a smile.

But judging by the accolades, Clement has substantial job security. Predecessor Theodore Olson said that Clement has already met a “24 karat gold” standard for advocacy. In the way of Washington, Clement was even praised by someone who was his adversary less than a month earlier: Georgetown professor Neal Katyal, who argued against Clement in the Guant�namo Bay detainee case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.