The subpoena issued by the House of Representatives Special Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol to obtain information on private cell phones from Verizon is invalid for at least five reasons, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this week in federal court by a prominent constitutional body. … professor of law.
The lawsuit, filed December 14 by Professor John Eastman in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, requires a special committee to call Verizon for his “phone records, text messages, contact lists, etc. for November. From January 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021 “shall be declared invalidated.
Eastman’s suit is one of several recently filed in federal court that could lead to a court order forcing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders to either reorganize and restart the election committee or close it entirely.
Eastman said the subpoena at Verizon is invalid for the following reasons:
- “First, the public statements made by members of the J6 committee clearly show that the committee is trying to exercise a law enforcement function and not actual legislative activity. The United States Congress cannot issue subpoenas to law enforcement.
- “Second, the subpoena was issued in violation of House rules and a permitting resolution from the J6 Committee itself … the absence of officially appointed minority members or a legally appointed ‘high-ranking minority member’ on the Committee makes such compliance impossible. A subpoena that violates applicable internal rules is void.
- “Third, the subpoena violates the Fourth Amendment. Dr. Eastman has every reason to count on the confidentiality of his personal cell phone information, which the Committee is now seeking to access without a search warrant.
- “Fourth, the subpoena violates the First Amendment. The subpoena asks for details of Dr. Eastman’s First Amendment activities. Allowing a high-party congressional committee to intrude on a political opponent under the First Amendment would have a chilling effect on free speech.
- “Finally, the subpoena violates the lawyer’s secrecy. In addition to academic work, Dr. Eastman is involved in legal practice representing clients. The agenda does not contain provisions on the protection of confidential information of the client-attorney. “
Eastman, who describes himself in the lawsuit as “a political conservative who backed former President Donald Trump, which conflicts with extreme party membership on the Committee,” is a former dean of the Chapman University School of Law and professor of constitutional law and jurisprudence. History and property.
Separately, the ad hoc committee said it also summoned Eastman to testify because he “appears to have been instrumental in advising President Trump that Vice President [Mike] Pence could determine which voters were recognized on January 6 – a view shared by many of the attackers on the Capitol. ”
Also earlier this week, four political consultants filed a lawsuit against the elected committee who helped organize a peaceful White House rally in support of Trump on January 6, which preceded the Capitol riots on the same day.
The four included Justin Caporale, who is called the “project manager,” Tim Unes, founder of Event Strategies, Megan Powers, who is listed as the “operations manager,” and Maggie Mulvaney, the “VIP leader” of the rally.
In their lawsuit, all four claim they are “private citizens who have not participated in any activities or programs of the federal government. They have only one obvious connection to an issue that Congress claims is being investigated by Congress: they served as vendors, helping to staff a peaceful, lawful, orderly, and patriotic gathering to advance the First Amendment speech.
“Despite this, Plaintiffs voluntarily gave interviews and handed over thousands of documents to Congressional investigators. Plaintiffs answered all questions about what happened at the event, who spoke, with whom Plaintiffs spoke and when. If Congress wanted to know more about Plaintiffs’ brief involvement in the events it purportedly is investigating, it only had to ask.
Instead, Congress rewarded the plaintiffs for their cooperation by asking Respondent Verizon Wireless, their telecom operator, to indiscriminately demand detailed information about their accounts, contacts, personal and political partners, and physical location. The subpoenas covered a three-month period, which is much longer than the 10-day period about which Congress questioned the plaintiffs. ”
Like Chapman, the four are asking the court to rule that Verizon’s subpoena is invalid because it “was not issued by a legally constituted committee; is not related to a case that Congress intends to investigate; does not pursue legislative goals; violates Claimants’ rights to the First and Fourth Amendments; and violates the Stored Communications Act, 18 USC § 2701, et seq. “
Arguments cited in lawsuits filed by four rally organizers and a professor of constitutional law reflect those presented to the same federal court in a December 8 filing by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who is also a former member of the House of Representatives. Representatives who accused him of contempt on 14 December.
In addition to claiming that the subpoenas issued by the selection committee are invalid, all claims allege that the commission itself is invalid because it does not operate under HR 503, which created it.
The lawsuits further allege that the ad hoc committee is not pursuing a “legitimate aim” consistent with the constitutional authorities of Congress.
Meadows phrases the argument as follows: “Congress has no autonomous authority to issue subpoenas. On the contrary, his investigative powers are complementary to his legislative power. Trump v Mazars USA, LLP, 140 S. Ct. 2019, 2031 (2020).
“Because of this link between investigative and legislative powers, Congress can only issue subpoenas if they serve a legitimate purpose. Enforcement and punishment for alleged wrongdoing are not legitimate targets. To the extent that Congress seeks to use subpoenas to investigate and punish alleged misconduct, Congress unconstitutionally violates the prerogatives of the executive branch. ”
The argument continues by noting that “The Ad Hoc Committee was unable to identify any legislative objectives that Meadows’s agenda serves. He did not consider any bills and did not provide any explanation as to why his requests to Mr. Meadows would contribute to the achievement of any legitimate goals …
“The permission of the Ad Hoc Committee also does not define its legislative purpose. It is vague to the point of meaninglessness, authorizing the Ad Hoc Committee “to investigate the facts, circumstances and causes of the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol, including the facts and circumstances concerning … public and private sector entities identified as relevant.” A special committee for such an investigation. “