A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a lawsuit claiming that President Trump is illegally profiting from foreign and state government visitors at his hotel in downtown Washington. Trump emoluments case over his D.C. hotel gets second chance in legal challenge:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit agreed to rehear the lawsuit, brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District, which was dismissed over the summer by a three-judge panel of the court.
The brief order set oral arguments before an en banc panel of judges for Dec. 12 and essentially gives the novel lawsuit, which tests the anti-corruption emoluments provisions of the Constitution, a second chance.
In July, a unanimous three-judge panel said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) and D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) lacked legal grounds to bring the case alleging that the president violates the Constitution when his business accepts payments from state and foreign governments.
That decision, from three judges nominated by Republican presidents, also put a halt to dozens of subpoenas to federal agencies and Trump’s private business entities.
The initial three-judge panel found the attorneys general did not have standing to bring their case against the president in part because they had failed to show that Trump’s conduct harmed the financial interests of Maryland and the District.
(The grant of an en banc appeal vacates that ruling.)
The lawsuit is one of three major cases testing for the first time the Constitution’s ban on the country’s leaders engaging in private business relationships with foreign governments.
In a New York case, brought by Trump’s business competitors, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in September ruled a lower-court judge had improperly thrown out the case in late 2017. U.S. Appeals Court Reinstates Emoluments Case Against Trump.
A separate case in Washington, filed by congressional Democrats, is on hold while Trump appeals. U.S. judge allows Trump to appeal key ’emoluments’ rulings:
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan previously declined an appeal, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit urged him last month to reconsider the president’s request.
Under Sullivan’s order, Justice Department lawyers arguing for Trump will be able to seek fast-track review of a determination that the Democratic lawmakers had legal standing to bring the case, as well as a ruling that rejected Trump’s interpretation of the constitutional language at issue in the case.
Sullivan’s order will keep on hold the “discovery” phase of the litigation, in which the Democratic lawmakers intended to serve subpoenas on Trump businesses asking about their foreign customers. The judge had halted that process in July.
The emoluments litigation, which
could will end up before the Supreme Court, represents the first time in U.S. history courts have interpreted the emoluments clauses in the Constitution and how it relates to a sitting president.
UPDATE: With three emoluments clause cases pending against him, Trump doubles-down and shamelessly demands that the next G-7 Summit be held at his financially failing Trump National Doral Golf Resort in Florida. Trump Himself Pushed For G-7 To Be Held At His Doral Resort In Florida:
The President personally pushed for the G-7 summit next summer to be held at his Trump National Doral resort. And lo and behold, it will, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced on Tuesday.
The decision raises a host of potential emoluments issues. Mulvaney insisted Trump won’t profit from the event.
He most certainly will. World leaders essentially will be made to pay tribute to “Dear Leader” at his failing golf resort if they want to attend the G-7. This is exactly what the emoluments clause seeks to forbid.