Tuesday, the Supreme Court rejected Sen. Lindsey Graham’s application to temporarily stop a subpoena from a Georgia grand jury looking into attempts to rig the state’s 2020 presidential election.
After a federal appeals court agreed last month with a lower court judgment that the grand jury could force him to testify, the South Carolina Republican requested the high court to intervene.
Mr. Graham claims that the Speech or Debate Clause, a clause in the Constitution that shields members of Congress from legal action related to legislative speech, safeguarded his attempts to win the 2020 race in Georgia.
Mr. Graham asked the Supreme Court to put a hold on the lower court’s decision requiring him to testify until the legal challenges are resolved in an emergency appeal last month.
However, the high court issued its final ruling allowing the grand jury to request Mr. Graham’s testimony in an unsigned order with no dissents indicated.
The Supreme Court noted in its decision on Tuesday that the lower court had already taken into account Mr. Graham’s claims about the Speech or Debate Clause and determined that “he may not be questioned about such activities.”
The order states that in order to protect the senator’s Speech or Debate Clause immunity, “a stay or injunction is not necessary.”
The investigation’s principal investigator, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, wants to speak with Mr. Graham on calls he made to Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state for Georgia, in the weeks following the election.
Republican Mr. Raffensperger claimed Mr. Graham questioned whether he had the authority to reject particular absentee ballots. The Georgian took Mr. Graham’s query to mean that, in his capacity as an election officer, he ought to throw out legally cast votes.
The interpretation is “ludicrous,” according to Mr. Graham.
In his emergency filing from last month, Mr. Graham stated that he was “reviewing election-related problems” as part of his duties as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and that he needed the material for a “impending vote on certifying the election.”
According to the filing, “Senator Graham relied on the information obtained from the calls following the phone calls to both vote for Joe Biden to be declared the “legitimate President of the United States” and to co-sponsor legislation to modify the Electoral Count Act.
Furthermore, Mr. Graham claimed that because politicians are protected by the Constitution, his motivations were irrelevant.
The Speech or Debate Clause was created to preclude precisely this kind of investigation, according to Mr. Graham. “The district court’s and district attorney’s apparent concerns about intentions are without merit, but even assuming otherwise,” he wrote. He said, “Wrong, therefore, to suppose that any other lines of hypothetical examination would be permitted” was the mistake of the lower court.