Justice Elena Kagan on Wednesday temporarily halted the subpoena request for Arizona Republican Chairwoman Kelli Ward‘s phone records.
She ordered the Jan. 6 Committee, which requested the information, to respond to Ms. Ward’s court petition objecting to the subpoena by Friday.
“T-Mobile USA, Inc. is temporarily enjoined from releasing the records requested by the House Select Committee pending further order of Justice Kagan or of the Court,” the docket entry read.
Ms. Ward petitioned the high court this week after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to step in and shield T-Mobile from turning over to the congressional panel the information for Ms. Wards’ communications, prompting her legal team to seek review before the justices.
She argued that if the high court doesn’t stop the committee’s demand, her First Amendment rights and freedom of political association will be damaged.
“This is an unprecedented case with profound precedential implications for future congressional investigations and political associational rights under the First Amendment. In a first-of-its-kind situation, a select committee of the United States Congress, dominated by one political party, has subpoenaed the personal telephone and text message records of a state chair of the rival political party relating to one of the most contentious political events in American history — the 2020 election and the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021,” her court document, dated Oct. 24, read.
She goes on to argue the subpoena is an attempt to infringe on her First Amendment rights, a position the Ninth Circuit rejected in reasoning the committee’s governmental interest outweighed her objection.
“There can be no greater chill on public participation in partisan politics than a call, visit, or subpoena, from federal investigators,” Ms. Ward’s high court filing read.
Her request was presented to Justice Elena Kagan, who oversees appeals from the Ninth Circuit.
The Jan. 6 committee is involved in a number of legal fights as pro-Trump allies have sought to ignore the panel’s demands.
Lawmakers on the committee recently subpoenaed former President Trump for testimony.
• Alex Swoyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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