Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has come to the rescue of the far-right yet again, granting a temporary stay protecting one legislator from the obligation to testify in an election tampering case.
Senator Lindsey Graham may still be obligated to testify in the case, which seeks to examine phone calls made to Georgia legislators after Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, but he’s currently been given some breathing room while waiting for SCOTUS to decide whether or not to place their collective finger on the scale.
The new order is brief, signed by only Justice Thomas, and only prevents the 11th Circuit ruling — which would require Graham to testify — from being enforced. SCOTUS could still decide to reject Graham’s case or it could choose to hear it but rule against him.
Trump’s well-packed right-leaning bench justifies some skepticism about the eventual outcome, but SCOTUS has refused to take the former president’s side in a few cases since his loss, including cases directly connected to the 2020 election, and a plea for intervention in his Mar-a-Lago documents case.
From the Supreme Court docket:
Upon consideration of the application of counsel for the applicant, it is ordered that the August 15, 2022 order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, case No. 1:22-CV-03027, as modified by the district court’s September 1, 2022 order, is hereby stayed pending further order of Justice Thomas or of the Court.
Following his 2020 election loss, Trump contacted Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to urge him to ‘find’ enough votes to flip that state’s outcome. Graham, too, made contacts with Georgia officials, for conversations he says were just to discuss the methods used to verify signatures on ballots and envelopes.
Raffensperger, by contrast, argues that Graham was suggesting throwing out legally cast votes, NBC reported at the time.
In his plea to the Supreme Court for intervention, Graham said that to be forced to testify about his actions would be unconstitutional, because he made the calls “in the course of his official work,” and that this “reflects a protected “legislative
investigation”—and that questioning about it, as such, is prohibited.”
In support of his claim, he asserts that the information he received in these calls assured him that Joe Biden is the “legitimate President of the United States.”