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SCOTUS approves Jan. 6 committee's peek into AZ GOP Chair Kelli Ward's phone records

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that congressional investigators working with the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack may access the phone records of key election denial figure Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, and a stalwart ally of former President Donald Trump. 

Ward, who acted as one of the "fake electors" lined up by Trump and his allies to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election, had petitioned the court to block a Jan. 6 committee subpoena issued in Jan. 2022, writing 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" — an act which would "chill [...] public participation in partisan politics." In response to Ward's petition, liberal Justice Elena Kagan had temporarily blocked the committee's subpoena, while the high court considered the case. 

Those considerations came to an end on Monday, with the court's 7-2 decision to allow the subpoena to proceed, with conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas indicating they would grant Ward's request. Crucially, Justice Thomas' has not recused himself from this and other related cases despite his wife, conservative activist Ginni Thomas, also figuring prominently in the Jan. 6 committee's investigation. 

Ward's earlier effort to quash the committee's subpoena had been rejected by both a district court judge, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which noted that "The [phone records requested] include metadata such as the time and duration of incoming and outgoing calls and the numbers involved; they do not include content or location information."