The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Republican South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham must testify in front of a Georgia grand jury. Officials are investigating former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Noticeably missing from the SCOTUS ruling was any dissent in favor of Sen. Graham. The court unanimously agreed, “assumed that the informal investigative fact-finding that Senator Graham assertedly engaged in constitutes legislative activity protected by the Speech or Debate Clause … and they held that Senator Graham may not be questioned about such activities. The lower courts also made clear that Senator Graham may return to the district court should disputes arise regarding the application of the Speech or Debate Clause immunity to specific questions. Accordingly, a stay or injunction is not necessary to safeguard the Senator’s Speech or Debate Clause immunity.”
Sen. Graham originally filed his motion in August, arguing that he was exempt from the subpoena to testify based on a rarely cited section of the U.S. Constitution. Graham’s motion stated, “The Constitution guarantees that a Senator ‘shall not be questioned’ about his protected ‘Speech or Debate’—and yet the District Attorney insists that Senator Graham must submit to questioning to ascertain whether he can be questioned or is immune from questioning. That makes no sense.”
When the lower courts denied his motion, Graham got to begging quickly for their intervention. He added that the filing was made “to defend the Constitution and the institutional interest of the Senate,” commenting on the lower court’s ruling “would significantly impact the ability of senators to gather information in connection with doing their job.”
GA DA Fanni Willis compelled his testimony in her filed petition that Graham’s testimony was imperative in “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” per CBS. According to The Washington Post, Willis claimed that his testimony is vital to understanding “a multistate, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”