Emoluments Clause and Trump

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The never ending attempt of those who oppose President Trump to get rid of him by hook or crook took a punch in the face when a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed with prejudice the emoluments clause lawsuits brought by Maryland and the District of Columbia, ruling these entities had no standing to bring such a suit.  Go here to read the decision.


Here is the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

In short, government officials were not to be bribed by any foreign government.  Until the present administration there was virtually no law on the subject.  Presidents, beginning with Washington, often had commercial dealings with foreign nations, Washington’s dealings consisting of selling products from Mount Vernon to foreign buyers.   No one thought anything of it.  Since the Nixon administration all Presidents have put their financial investments and businesses in blind trusts.  This may or may not be prudent, but it certainly is not required by the Emoluments Clause.  There is no enforcement mechanism in the Constitution for the Emoluments Clause.  Thus if a President decided to accept a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II, the only recourse for Congress would be impeachment, although whether acceptance of a foreign title would be a high crime or misdemeanor would be a political question for both the House and Senate to rule on.

As the panel of the Fourth Circuit noted in throwing out the Emoluments Clause lawsuits, DC and Maryland had been unable to tell the District Court just what sort of remedy they were seeking, since there is no enforcement mechanism in the Constitution.

From a legal standpoint, these suits were a shambles and a farce from the beginning.  That the District Court ruled that these suits could proceed forward, until the panel of the Fourth Circuit put the kibosh on that, demonstrates the length that many Federal judges have prostituted themselves, in derogation of their judicial oath, to join in getting Trump by hook or crook.  That is a betrayal of their oaths and an indication they are unfit to wield judicial power in a free country.


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  1. I think Laurence Tribe was promoting this one, along with Zephyr Teachout and the folks at CREW (which is, I believe, a sorosphere outfit). Perhaps hoping to get one of their nifty ‘landmark rulings’ that people who own businesses cannot serve in the presidency. Pretty helpful for a party shot through with people who practiced law for 4 years and then took government salaries for the rest of their life.

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