Monday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas acting on behalf of the US Supreme Court, stayed a lower court order directing South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to appear before a kangaroo court; I’m sorry, I mean a “grand jury” in Fulton County, Georgia. The so-called grand jury is investigating alleged election interference. Apparently, widespread vote fraud was not a valid subject to investigate, but a couple of phone calls by Graham are.
This is the background via SCOTUSBlog:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, asked the Supreme Court on Friday to block a Georgia grand jury from questioning him about phone calls after the 2020 election to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wants to ask Graham about the calls, in which he allegedly discussed the state’s absentee-ballot process and allegations of voter fraud, as part of her investigation into possible election interference by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
Democrat Joe Biden won Georgia by a narrow margin in 2020. In a January 2021 conversation with Raffensperger, Trump claimed that voter fraud was rampant in the state and suggested that he had won by a half-million votes. Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to give him a victory in Georgia.
After Willis’ office issued a subpoena for Graham’s testimony in August, Graham transferred the dispute over efforts to obtain his testimony to federal court. He argued that the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause protects him from having to testify. That clause shields members of Congress from facing questions about their “speech or debate.”
A federal judge in Georgia ruled that Graham could not be questioned about his inquiries into Georgia’s election procedures. Still, he would have to explain why he was making the calls in the first place and any communications he’d had with the Trump campaign (because f*** you, that’s why is my top vote for the answer).
Graham appealed to the Eleventh Circuit, which supported the federal judge, and Graham appealed to the Supreme Court. The appeal came to Justice Thomas, who oversees the Eleventh Circuit.
Don McGahn, Trump’s White House counsel, is representing Graham. He contends that Graham’s calls are protected under the speech and debate clause and pertain to his decision to certify Georgia’s election results (Graham did vote to certify them) and his role as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Back to SCOTUSBlog:
Graham’s request went initially to Justice Clarence Thomas, who fields emergency appeals from the 11th Circuit. On Saturday, Thomas directed Willis’ office to file a response to Graham’s request by 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 27. On Monday morning, Thomas issued an order known as an “administrative stay”: He temporarily put on hold the lower-court order requiring Graham to testify to give the court time to consider and rule on Graham’s appeal — presumably sometime after Thursday evening.
What is going on here is nothing more than loosely based judicial harassment of Graham. He had every right to call anyone he wished about basically anything he wanted. His conversations with the Trump campaign are no one’s business. It is hard to imagine a set of facts that would allow a county grand jury to subpoena and compel testimony from a senator from another state on a matter of purely political concern, particularly when the subject is phone calls to someone who is not a resident of that county or even that state. If this nonsense is allowed to continue, then any senator who calls any state official faces the possibility of being dragged into court by any prosecutor in any state.