Elena Kagan is summoned by Kelli Ward. Temporarily suspends the demand for Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward’s phone records from the Jan. 6 Committee
In Washington, The subpoena for Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Kelli Ward’s phone records was issued by the House select committee looking into the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. On Wednesday night, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan imposed a temporary halt on the subpoena.
Until further order of the undersigned or of the court, Kagan’s order halted a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit from October 22 that had permitted the House committee to access the data on January 6.
Responses to Kagan’s order must be submitted by Friday at 5 p.m. ET on behalf of Ward and the Jan. 6 committee.
Ward claimed in an urgent request to Kagan, who oversees applications from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, that the subpoena from the House panel is a “first-of-its-kind situation” involving a request for phone records from the head of a state party chair, sought by a congressional committee that is largely made up of members of the opposing party.
In the event that Dr. Ward’s phone and text message records are made public, congressional investigators will get in touch with each and every person who got in touch with her during and right after the commotion of the 2020 election. That is a fact; it is not just conjecture.
There is no other justification for the committee to want this material, according to Ward’s attorneys. No call, visit, or subpoena from federal investigators may have a more chilling effect on the public’s participation in partisan politics.
In order to get call logs, phone numbers, text messages, and IP addresses that communicated with Ward’s number after the 2020 election, the committee sent a subpoena to T-Mobile, Ward’s phone carrier, in January.
The chairman of the Arizona Republican Party was one of a number of individuals involved in a failed plot to have a list of so-called alternate electors cast electoral votes for Donald Trump, who lost the state to Vice President Biden.
However, the committee eventually asked the court to dismiss the matter when Ward submitted a request to void the subpoena in federal court. Ward appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit after the lower court approved the House investigators’ request. However, the appeals court in California maintained the lower court’s decision allowing the House committee to get the records.
Given the events it involves—the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol—Ward claimed in her Supreme Court filing that her case has “deep precedential ramifications for future congressional investigations and political associational rights under the First Amendment.”
Despite the fact that the select committee does not “mete out punishment,” Ward contended that providing the panel with her phone records runs the danger of subjecting the people she spoke to congressional or federal inquiries as well as negative public opinion.
“In a case like this, the punishment is the process; the harm comes from the dread that your ideas will be exposed, that you may be the next to get a visit from government investigators, and that you might have to deal with the devastating personal and financial implications of having to seek counsel and go before the committee to answer for your political connections and opinions,” Ward told the Supreme Court.
The future of citizen involvement in American politics will be severely hampered by this precedent. Ward is the most recent Republican to petition the Supreme Court to become involved in disputes arising from inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina asked the high court to temporarily prevent him from having to testify before a Georgia grand jury, but the justices declined to do so. Trump asked the high court last year to stop the National Archives and Records Administration from turning over his White House records to the House panel.
On Monday, Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily suspended the lower court’s ruling requiring him to respond to inquiries from the grand jury looking into attempts in Georgia to rig the 2020 election.