The Post editorial board’s concerns about the subpoena

Justice Thomas Briefly Shields Graham From Georgia Elections Inquiry Subpoena – by Michael S. Rosen, Washington Post, Apr 2, 2010, at 5; see also David E. Sanger, “In probe of Georgia vote, Justice Thomas defends subpoena,” Washington Post, May 2, 2010, at A1; Michael S. Rosen, “Justice Thomas Says State Can’t ‘Concede’ Election Results,” Washington Post, Jan. 15, 2010, at A1.

The Post editorial board, by contrast, viewed the subpoena as part of an unnecessary exercise of power by partisan conservatives.

“Mr. Thomas, who has been a key part of this drama from the beginning, says he can’t let the subpoena stand,” the Post’s editorial board said in a Jan. 15 editorial. “Why? Because he doesn’t think a special prosecutor should investigate an election, and he doesn’t think it should be a partisan one. He thinks the investigation should go to the State Board of Elections, which is already supposed to take care of such things.”

“A special prosecutor should be someone independent of politics,” he said. “Not partisan.”

“That’s why Mr. Thomas believes there isn’t a basis for the demand,” the board said.

The board concluded: “He believes it must be done in an impartial way. It should not be done by Republicans and Democrats in the state Legislature, although even that would be acceptable to him in this investigation, which is not about political partisanship.”

The Post editorial board’s concerns have more to do with the public perception of the subpoena and its implications than with the content of the subpoena itself, which is limited to a single document.

The subpoena that Justice Thomas sent to the Georgia Board of Elections, for example, is limited to one piece of paper. The contents and the significance of a single document such as the subpoena, which is in the public domain — and which the Post has already disclosed in its Feb. 18, 2010, article — can only be fully assessed if a judge reviews and considers those two things: the significance of the document; and whether

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