Emoluments Case Dismissed

Ken AshfordConstitution, Crime, Political Scandals, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

The Fourth Circuit just sided with President Trump, dismissing a lawsuit claiming the president is illegally profiting from foreign and state government visitors at his luxury hotel in downtown Washington.

The unanimous ruling is a victory for the president in a novel case brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia involving anti-corruption provisions in the emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

The president is facing series of legal challenges related to his private business, including a separate lawsuit from Congressional Democrats. The emoluments clauses at issue in the 4th Circuit case were designed to prevent undue influence on government officials but have never been applied in court to a sitting president.

There are two other lawsuits accusing the president of violating the emoluments clause have been filed in other federal courts. The emoluments clause — a little known section of the Constitution — bars public officials from receiving gifts or cash from foreign or state governments without congressional approval.

Back in December 2017, a federal judge dismissed lawsuits filed by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (or CREW) in New York against Trump. CREW claimed business activities received by Trump-owned firms hurt local businesses that couldn’t compete with people and groups seeking favorable treatment from the Trump administration.

U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels didn’t agree with those claims, finding that CREW and the businesses lacked standing to sue in court. Daniels said the parties couldn’t prove they were hurt financially by potential business activity lost to the Trump-owned businesses. That case is on appeal.

The third case was brought by members of Congress.

The president is taking a victory lap, even though two other emoluments cases are going forward. He so rarely gets to take a victory lap, so you can see why he is taking it.