4th Circuit Rules Against Trump in Emoluments Clause Case

May 14, 2020 by Dan McCue
The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court ruled against President Donald Trump on Thursday in a lawsuit alleging he’s violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by profiting from foreign and state government patrons at his hotel in downtown Washington.

A divided 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed by the attorneys general from the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Writing for the majority in the 9-6 ruling, U.S. Circuit Judge Diana Motz said, “We recognize that the president is no ordinary petitioner, and we accord him great deference as the Executive branch.”

Nevertheless she continued, a majority of the appellate judges could not bring themselves to “grant the extraordinary relief the president seeks.”

Thursday’s ruling conflicts with a ruling handed down in March by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a separate case, which barred individual members of Congress from suing the president over his private business.

After that ruling, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., the plaintiffs in the case, decided not to request a rehearing by the full appeals court.

However, the split between the circuits very well could lead the Supreme Court to step in to decide the matter once and for all.

In the meantime, the case will return to a judge in Maryland, who has consistently ruled against Trump on preliminary legal questions, for further proceedings.

Trump opened the Trump International Hotel, on Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the White House, shortly before he was elected in November 2016. Unlike past presidents, he has retained ownership of numerous business interests, including the hotel, while serving as president.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed their lawsuit shortly after Trump took office. The 4th Circuit initially threw the lawsuit out, saying the attorneys general did not have legal standing to sue.

In December, all 15 judges in the circuit, which presides in Richmond, Virginia, reheard the case to decide whether the earlier three-judge panel hearing the case had erred in their determination.

Trump’s attorneys have maintained the president is not violating the emoluments clauses because the language bars only payments in exchange for official action or as part of an employment relationship.

Since the initial lawsuit, a federal judge in Maryland has signed off on more than a dozen subpoenas for Trump’s financial records to determine which government officials have stayed at Trump’s Washington hotel and how much they paid to stay there.

Those subpoenas have been on hold, pending the outcome of the president’s appeal.

In The News

Health

Voting

Litigation

Crist Challenger Sues FEC for Failing to Address Twitter Concerns
Litigation
Crist Challenger Sues FEC for Failing to Address Twitter Concerns
May 10, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Former Republican Congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna, who ran unsuccessfully to unseat Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., last year, is suing the Federal Elections Commission saying it failed to address her concerns over her treatment by Twitter. Luna, a former airfield manager in the U.S.... Read More

DOJ to Appeal Federal Judge Ruling on CDC Eviction Moratorium
Litigation
DOJ to Appeal Federal Judge Ruling on CDC Eviction Moratorium
May 6, 2021
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON — After a federal judge ruled on Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on evictions exceeded the agency's authority, the Department of Justice announced it would appeal the decision. U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich authored the 20-page opinion accompanying the ruling.... Read More

Judges Hear Arguments Over Contentious Census Privacy Tool
Litigation
Judges Hear Arguments Over Contentious Census Privacy Tool

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The fight over whether the U.S. Census Bureau can use a controversial statistical technique to keep people's information private in the numbers used for drawing political districts on Monday went before a judicial panel that must decide if the method provides enough... Read More

$1.6 MIllion to Go to Protesters at 2017 Inauguration
Law
$1.6 MIllion to Go to Protesters at 2017 Inauguration
May 3, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia government this week agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle two lawsuits by protesters during the January 2017 presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. In one of the lawsuits, six demonstrators represented by the ACLU of the District of Columbia will... Read More

The Hartford to Pay $650 Million to Settle Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Claims
Litigation
The Hartford to Pay $650 Million to Settle Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Claims
April 20, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

The Hartford Financial Services Group announced Friday it would pay $650 million to settle sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America. If it is approved by a Delaware bankruptcy judge, the payment to the Boy Scouts and its 272 local councils would release the... Read More

Stephen Miller’s New Legal Group to Challenge Biden Policies With Lawsuits
Political News
Stephen Miller’s New Legal Group to Challenge Biden Policies With Lawsuits

WASHINGTON - He’s baaack. Stephen Miller, that is.  Former President Donald Trump’s senior White House advisor and the architect behind that administration’s hard line immigration policies, is launching a new organization this week, America First Legal. And, though the 35-year-old political operative is not a lawyer,... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top