On Nov. 1, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) must testify to a grand jury in Georgia investigating the 2020 presidential election.
The court rejected Graham’s request in an unsigned order released Tuesday, which reads, “The application for stay and an injunction pending appeal presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied. The order heretofore entered by Justice Thomas is vacated.”
The one-page document comes after Graham failed to block a subpoena in two lower courts, turning to the nation’s top Court in October.
Graham’s legal team argued that he is immune under the U.S. Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause. However, one appeals court recently said Graham cannot be questioned on actions related to legislative fact-finding but said he can be questioned over other matters.
The order addressed those claims, saying, “The lower courts assumed that the informal investigative fact-finding that Senator Graham assertedly engaged in constitutes legislative activity protected by the Speech or Debate Clause, U. S. Const. Art. I, §6, cl. 1, and they held that Senator Graham may not be questioned about such activities.
“The lower courts also made clear that Senator Graham may return to the District Court should disputes arise regarding the application of the Speech or Debate Clause immunity to specific questions. Accordingly, a stay or injunction is not necessary to safeguard the Senator’s Speech or Debate Clause immunity,” it added.
The grand jury, convened by Democrat Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, seeks to question Graham on phone calls he made to Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other activities in the wake of the 2020 election.
The order also eliminates a stay that Justice Clarence Thomas granted Graham on Oct. 24. Thomas oversees the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the appeals court that recently said Graham could be questioned.
Willis had urged the court to reject Graham’s application. She said that Graham might never be questioned if it was granted because the grand jury only lasts through April 2023.
“A stay would create the possibility, or perhaps the certainty, that the Grand Jury would either have to pursue an extension of its term indefinitely to await the testimony of a single witness or issue a report without receiving any testimony or information from the Senator at all,” the brief stated.
Willis convened the special grand jury this year after her office received information indicating that Georgia’s administration of the 2020 election “was subject to possible criminal disruptions” and that multiple witnesses, including Raffensperger, had refused to cooperate unless subpoenaed.
Former President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani is among those who have already testified to the grand jury. In addition, Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, must also testify, a judge ruled in October.