4th Circuit Court of Appeals greenlights discovery in Emoluments Clause case

Politico reports some good news, for a change, Appeals court greenlights emoluments suit against Trump:

A lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating the Constitution by accepting foreign government money through his luxury Washington hotel can proceed to fact-gathering about Trump’s profits, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals voted, 9-6, to reject Trump’s bid to shut down the lawsuit the governments of Maryland and the District of Columbia brought alleging violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clauses.

Trump, who has vigorously fought a series of similar lawsuits for years, will now need relief from the Supreme Court if he wants to block Maryland and D.C. from pressing demands for his business records as his re-election campaign gets into full swing.

The 4th Circuit’s full bench essentially split along ideological lines with the Democratic appointees turning down Trump’s attempt to halt discovery ordered by a federal district court judge in Maryland and the Republican-appointed ones siding with Trump.

For Republicans, “Dear Leader” is above the law, as we actually heard argued in the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

Chief Judge Roger Gregory, who was recess appointed by President Bill Clinton and got a permanent appointment under President George W. Bush, ruled against the president.

An all GOP-appointed panel of the 4th Circuit had previously voted unanimously to shut down the suit the Maryland and D.C. attorneys general filed back in 2017.

Two other appeals courts have reached disparate rulings on similar suits filed in other courts.

In February, the D.C. Circuit threw out a suit hundreds of Democratic lawmakers filed challenging Trump’s handling of profits derived from foreign government. That ruling rested on the technical grounds that individual lawmakers could not pursue such a suit.

Last September, a three-judge panel of the New York-based 2nd Circuit revived a suit that hospitality industry business owners and employees brought making similar claims against the president. The Justice Department asked the full bench of that appeals court to review the decision. There has been no ruling on that request, which has effectively kept that suit on ice for more than half a year.

I assume the discovery requests were previously served by Maryland and D.C., resulting in this lawsuit. They should now give the recipients of those subpoenas one week to comply. I’m sure that Trump’s lawyers will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. Trump believes the five conservative justices on the court are his protectors.

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