- Justice Thomas briefly froze an order calling on Sen. Lindsey Graham to testify in a Georgia 2020 election probe.
- Last week, Graham filed an emergency application to block his testimony before an Atlanta grand jury.
- Graham was one of the lawmakers who asked the state’s top election official to question absentee ballots, per a WaPo report.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily froze an order calling for testimony for Sen. Lindsey Graham before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible criminal efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
The Republican senator from South Carolina was reportedly one of the lawmakers who pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to question absentee ballots, the top election official told The Washington Post in November 2020.
A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, subpoenaed Graham for testimony in their probe, prompting the South Carolina lawmaker to ask the Supreme Court in an emergency application last week to block the subpoena.
“Without a stay, Senator Lindsey Graham will soon be questioned by a local Georgia prosecutor and her ad hoc investigative body about his protected ‘speech or debate’ related to the 2020 election,” Graham’s lawyers wrote in the application. “This will occur despite the Constitution’s command that senators ‘shall not be questioned’ about ‘any speech or debate.'”
Thomas’ order on Monday was an “administrative stay,” likely to give justices in the nation’s top court more time to consider the senator’s emergency request to block his testimony before the Georgia county grand jury. The justice acted alone in the temporary order because he has jurisdiction over the lower court that issued the original subpoena.
Graham did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Justice Thomas’ administrative stay.
But last week’s appeal to the Supreme Court wasn’t Graham’s first attempt to avoid testifying before the Atlanta grand jury. Earlier this year, Graham claimed that the Constitution granted him “absolute immunity” in the election interference probe, to which Georgia’s district attorney condemned his argument.
“The Senator’s extreme position defies the facts, this Court’s holdings, Supreme Court precedent, and the interests of the public,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
In a 23-page order filed in September, a federal judge rejected Graham’s immunity claim, saying she was “unpersuaded by the breadth of Senator Graham’s argument.”
“[T]he Court does not find that it can simply accept Senator Graham’s sweeping and conclusory characterizations of the calls and ignore other objective facts in the record that call Senator Graham’s characterizations into question,” US District Court Judge Leigh Martin wrote in her ruling.
Representatives for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.