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Supreme Court rejects Lindsey Graham’s request to block Georgia grand jury subpoena

Lindsey Graham

 (CNN) -- The Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to block a subpoena for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham to testify in front of an Atlanta grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

There were no public dissents from the order.

The South Carolina senator had filed an emergency request asking the justices to halt the testimony -- currently scheduled for November 17 -- while legal challenges play out.

Graham will now have to appear for testimony, although a lower court order leaves room for him to object to certain questions as they come up if there is a dispute about whether the question is off limits.

In the unsigned order, the justices agreed with the lower courts -- noting that Graham could not be asked to talk specifically about issues related to his legislative role. The court also noted that should disputes arise about particular questions the Senator's lawyers can still object to questions on a case by case basis.

"Accordingly," the Supreme Court said, "a stay or injunction is not necessary to safeguard the Senator's speech or debate clause immunity."

Graham argued that he should not have to abide by the subpoena because his testimony is foreclosed by the Constitution's Speech or Debate clause, which shields lawmakers from certain criminal or civil proceedings connected to their legislative duties.

Critics feared that if Graham were to prevail, it would embolden other members of Congress to make similar claims in an attempt to shield themselves from testifying. The clause reads that "for any Speech or Debate in either house" members of Congress "shall not be questioned in any other place."

This story has been updated with additional details.

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