The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to block a subpoena for Republican senators. Lindsey Graham will testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 Georgia presidential election.
There were no public objections to the order.
The South Carolina senator made an urgent request for a judge to stop testifying — currently scheduled for Nov. 17 — while the legal challenge continues.
Graham will now have to testify, although he will have room to object to certain questions as they arise, meaning the scope of his testimony or answers may be limited.
In the unsigned order, the justices agreed with the lower court—noting that Graham cannot be required to speak specifically about issues related to his legislative role. The court also noted that if a particular issue is contested, the senator’s lawyer can still object to the issue on a case-by-case basis.
“Therefore,” the Supreme Court said, “the stay or injunction is not necessary to protect Senator’s immunity from the speech or debate clause.”
This could leave a lot of room for Graham to challenge a grand jury question or request
Graham argued that he should not comply with the subpoena because his testimony is barred by the Constitution’s speech or debate clause, which protects lawmakers from certain criminal or civil lawsuits related to their legislative duties.
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Critics fear that if Graham wins the Supreme Court, it will encourage other members of Congress to make similar claims in an attempt to protect themselves from testifying. The article reads that “no speech or debate in any chamber”, MPs “shall not be challenged anywhere else”.
Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis said she wanted to question Graham about his calls to Georgia election officials after the 2020 election. Lawyers for the senator described the calls as “investigative calls” to facilitate legitimate legislative activity aimed at informing him of his impending certification decision.
“This order denies Senator. Graham’s claim that the Fulton County District Attorney is constitutionally barred from questioning him over interference in the 2020 election,” said the former federal prosecutor who challenged Graham’s position Attorney Joshua Matz said in the amicus brief. Mats noted that while the judge agreed that Graham could not be challenged over legislative activity, he could face more hurdles.
“While the order allows Graham to return to federal court if he wants to raise other objections, four federal judges – including the district judges assigned to his case – have concluded that many of his expected objections are nothing. Unfounded,” he said.
A spokesman for the Fulton County District Attorney declined to comment.
Graham’s office described the Supreme Court’s ruling as a victory.
“Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that the speech or debate clause of the Constitution applies here,” his officials said in a statement. “They also confirmed that Senator Graham ‘may go back to the District Court’ if the District Attorney attempts to raise questions about his constitutionally protected activities. The Senator’s legal team intends to work with the District Attorney’s Office on next steps. to ensure that this constitutional immunity is respected.”
Last week, Judge Clarence Thomas, who oversees the lower court involved in the case, temporarily blocked testimony. Thomas’ move is an administrative moratorium, likely to give Supreme Court justices more time to consider disputes.
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Willis argues that individuals on the call have publicly expressed their understanding that Graham implied or implied on the call that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffinsburg should drop certain votes or take actions that could alter the state’s election results. program of.
Willis is leading a special grand jury investigation into Trump’s efforts to rig Georgia’s 2020 election results. Her investigation recently resulted in grand jury testimony from a former U.S. senator. Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler and former White House adviser Pat Cipollone, CNN reported last month.
This story has been updated with more details.