Washington (CNN) - Fearlessly demonstrating the majesty of U.S. justice or acquiescing to terrorists by giving them undeserved rights and a public platform?
The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, admitted mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and five other suspects to a New York courtroom, rather than a military tribunal, was described in stark contrasts Sunday by politicians on opposing sides of the political spectrum.
Democrats hailed Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try the men in a civilian court as a demonstration of America's might and moral certainty, while Republicans called it a bad idea based on politics rather than pragmatism.
"We have a judicial system that's the envy of the world," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont said on the CBS program "Face the Nation." "I don't think we should run and hide and cower. Let's use our system."
But Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire countered on the CNN program "State of the Union," why give foreign terrorists at war with the United States the full judicial rights of U.S. citizens?
"These people are evil people," Gregg said of the defendants. "They represent a cause which wants to destroy this nation. If they have the opportunity and were to get free, they would try to destroy this country. There's no reason we should have them in the criminal justice system."
Former New York Major Rudy Giuliani, considered a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2012, called military tribunals created for terrorists such as Mohammed who have been held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a better alternative than a civilian court.
Military tribunals are "a better choice for the government," Giuliani said on FOX News Sunday. "This choice of New York is a better choice for the terrorists. Why would you seek to give the terrorists a better choice than you're giving the public?"
In a separate interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Giuliani noted that a New York court trial would cause unnecessary stress and expense for the city's police force.
"Anyone that tells you that this doesn't create additional security problems, of course, isn't telling you the truth," Giuliani said. "And the best indication of it is, just look at the additional security that's going to be employed when this happens. That also happens to cost millions and millions and millions of dollars."
Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, warned that bringing the alleged terrorists to New York raised the risk of further attacks on the United States.
"Why move them into the United States while we are still under the threat from radical jihadists?" Hoekstra asked on the CBS program.
However, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island noted on "FOX News Sunday" that scores of terrorism suspects were successfully prosecuted in civilian courts under the Bush Administration.
"So what was a statesmanlike decision by the Bush administration can't be a political decision by this administration," Reed said.