Supreme Court allows Jan. 6 subpoena for Arizona GOP chief Kelli Ward

Supreme Court allows Jan. 6 subpoena for Arizona GOP chief Kelli Ward

Arizona Chairwoman Kelli Ward speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference on July 24, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request by Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward to block her phone records from being subpoenaed by the select House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The denial sets the stage for the Democratic-controlled House committee to obtain those records from her T-Mobile account.

The order rejecting Ward’s and her husband Michaels’ request for an emergency injunction notes that Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito would have granted it.

Justice Elena Kagan last month had temporarily blocked the subpoena to allow for her and the other justices to consider the request from the Wards, who argued that the subpoena harmed their First Amendment rights to political association.

Ward had her records subpoenaed by the committee because of her role as a so-called alternate elector for then-President Donald Trump, who lost Arizona’s popular vote in the 2020 election, and hence its slate of actual Electoral College members. President Joe Biden won the state’s popular vote and its electors.

The Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol by Trump supporters disrupted for hours a joint session of Congress that was meeting to certify the results of the Electoral College vote in favor of Biden.

Ward’s lawyers had argued in her request to block the subpoena that, “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,” the lawyers wrote. “There can be no greater chill on
public participation in partisan politics than a call, visit, or subpoena, from federal
investigators.”

Alexander Kolodin, a lawyer for Ward, on Monday said, “We were gratified to see that two justices were willing to find that First Amendment issues were implicated” by the subpoena.

“We hope that will be a message to those in the future who think about abusing that right in order to retaliate against Americans for exercising their First Amendment rights to free association,” Kolodin said.

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