The US Supreme Court on Monday threw out a lawsuit that alleged Donald Trump had illegally profited from his presidency. No justices dissented from the ruling which gave Trump a unanimous victory the Associated Press reports.
Media outlets, Democrats, and left-leaning political action committees have since 2017 alleged that Trump was illegally profiting from his position as president. Much of the profit, they contended, was associated with Russia, even attempting to connect Trump to Russia in the 2020 impeachment hearings in both the House and Senate.
The two suits specifically claimed that while in office Trump violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title … from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” The clause, which is rarely enforced against members of Congress, forbids government officials from receiving gifts from foreign states and monarchies without the consent of Congress.
The Trump administration and the president’s attorneys previously challenged rulings by lower courts allowing him to be sued for the allegations, alleging that a sitting President cannot be sued for this matter.
Two federal appeals courts had allowed the lawsuits to proceed but in early fall the U.S. Department of Justice under William Barr asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the cases. Today’s ruling the Supreme Court sent both cases back to those appeals courts “with instructions to dismiss [each] case as moot.”
The losing litigants tried to spin the ruling positively but ultimately alluded to the political nature of the case.
Washington Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, both Democrats in a joint statement asserted that they are “proud that because of our case, a court ruled on the meaning of ‘emoluments’ for the first time in American history, finding that the Constitution prohibits federal officials from accepting almost anything of value from foreign or domestic governments.”
But the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which brought the lawsuit brought up the November election.
Noah Bookbinder stated that “this important litigation made the American people aware for four years of the pervasive corruption that came from a president maintaining a global business and taking benefits and payments from foreign and domestic governments.”
“Only Trump losing the presidency and leaving office ended these corrupt constitutional violations stopped these groundbreaking lawsuits,” he said.
A third lawsuit filed by congressional Democrats against Trump was thrown out by the Supreme Court after it refused to hear their appeal of a lower court ruling. SCOTUS stated that the lawmakers lacked the necessary legal standing to pursue the case.
The court ruled that the issue was moot because Trump was no longer in office. Court watchers and legal scholars contend the Trump would have prevailed had it been fully reviewed and heard by the nation’s highest court.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice