December 2, 2022

AWKWARD: Arizona’s alternate elector abettor asks SCOTUS to protect cell records

AWKWARD: Arizona's alternate elector abettor asks SCOTUS to protect cell records

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UPDATE: In a Tuesday evening response, Ward was granted a temporary stay pending the court’s further review of her case.

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Former Arizona GOP Senate candidate Kelli Ward is asking the Supreme Court to step in and keep a House panel from obtaining her phone records as they investigate attempts to alter the outcome of the 2020 election.

The House Select Committee subpoenaed Ward’s phone records from her service provider, T-Mobile, and lower courts have already rejected her efforts to have the subpoena quashed. Now, she’ll take her plea to the highest court.

Ward has argued having her records examined in the investigation violates her First Amendment rights and would place a “chill on public participation in partisan politics.” A three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-3 against the former Arizona state senator.

The Supreme Court, however — leaning ever farther right since Donald Trump’s presidency — has already moved to, at least temporarily, protect another potential witness in election misconduct, Senator Lindsey Graham, from a related investigation in Georgia.

From Ward’s SCOTUS filing:

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“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. There is no other reason for the Committee to seek this information.”

While there are several key differences between Ward’s case and Graham’s, one of the most significant is this: the South Carolina legislator’s appeal was pushed directly to Justice Clarence Thomas, who has already been criticized for failing to recuse himself on multiple cases connected to the January 6th cases, despite his wife’s role in those events.

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Ward’s will go through Justice Elena Kagan.

Via Politico, a portion of the lower court’s ruling stated:

“The investigation, after all, is not about Ward’s politics; it is about her involvement in the events leading up to the January 6 attack, and it seeks to uncover those with whom she communicated in connection with those events. That some of the people with whom Ward communicated may be members of a political party does not establish that the subpoena is likely to reveal ‘sensitive information about [the party’s] members and supporters.'”

The January 6th Committee initially named Ward in February as one of several legislators subpoenaed for alleged roles in “efforts to send false ‘alternate electors’ and otherwise interfere with election certification.”

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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