WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to get phone records belonging to the leader of the Arizona Republican Party.
The high court on Monday rejected GOP state chair Kelli Ward’s request to halt the turnover of records while a lawsuit proceeds. The court lifted a temporary order that had been put in place by Justice Elena Kagan that had paused anything from happening while Ward’s appeal was at the Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito stated that they would have sided in Ward’s favor.
Ward has said her First Amendment rights would be chilled if investigators were able to learn whom she spoke with while trying to challenge former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat.
A federal appeals court panel had previously ruled in Ward’s favor and ordered the committee to obtain records of the calls she made and received between November 2020 and January 31, 2021. That includes a period when Ward was pushing for Trump’s election defeat to be overturned and Congress was set to certify the results in favor of Democrat Joe Biden.
Judges appointed by presidents from different parties ruled against Ward at the appeals courts level. Ward was ruled against by Eric Miller and Barry Silverman, who were both appointees of Democratic President Bill Clinton. Judge Sandra Ikuta (an appointee Republican President George W. Bush) dissented.
This appeals court decision followed a Phoenix federal judge’s September ruling against Ward.
Kelli Ward and Michael Ward were both presidential electors. They would have voted in the Electoral College for Trump if he had won Arizona. Both signed a document falsely claiming they were Arizona’s true electors, despite Biden’s victory in the state.