US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has temporarily blocked a subpoena from the House committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol seeking phone records for an Arizona Republican Party official who joined a scheme to falsely declare Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Justice Kagan issued an administrative stay on 26 October, giving the full court a chance to weigh in on the decision.
She gave the House committee until Friday to submit a response to an emergency application from Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward, who was among so-called “alternate electors” subpoenaed by the committee.
The “alternate elector” plot from the former president and his allies relied on a bogus legal theory involving a slate of fraudulent certificates from key states that falsely asserted Mr Trump’s electoral college votes.
The House select committee investigating the events leading up to and surrounding the attack on the Capitol on 6 January, 2021, when a joint session of Congress convened to certify the results of that election, has issued subpoenas for dozens of people involved with the scheme.
Lower courts have rejected Ms Ward’s arguments to block the subpoena.
Among their arguments to reject their subpoena, Ms Ward and her husband Michael Ward, both doctors, have claimed that disclosing their records to the committee would violate their medical privacy. The committee only is seeking Ms Ward’s records.
“If Dr Ward’s telephone and text message records are disclosed, congressional investigators are going to contact every person who communicated with her during and immediately after the tumult of the 2020 election. That is not speculation, it is a certainty,” lawyers for the couple wrote in legal filings.
The subpoena seeks information from a T-Mobile-linked mobile phone, along with phone numbers, IP addresses and other devices that connected with the phone in the election’s aftermath.
The Supreme Court also is considering a separate emergency appeal from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is also trying to block a subpoena – one that seeks his testimony in a Georgia grand jury investigation into allegations of election interference in the state.
Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas issued a similar temporary stay as the full court considers how to proceed.
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