U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court orders dismissal of emoluments cases against Trump as moot

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Donald Trump

President Donald Trump in August 2019. Photo by Aaron Schwartz/Shutterstock.com.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ordered the dismissal of two cases that contended that President Donald Trump was violating the emoluments clauses by accepting payments to his businesses by foreign governments and states.

The court granted cert in the cases, vacated appellate decisions against Trump, and told the lower courts to dismiss them as moot, report SCOTUSblog and NBC News. SCOTUSblog previewed the cases here.

One of the cases, Trump v. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, was brought on behalf of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and businesses in the hospitality and restaurant industry by several well-known lawyers and academics. They included Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law and a frequent ABA Journal contributor.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New York resurrected the case in September 2019.

The other case, Trump v. District of Columbia, was filed by the attorneys general for Maryland and Washington, D.C., in a bid to protect restaurants in their jurisdictions that compete with Trump properties. The en banc 4th Circuit at Richmond, Virginia, allowed the suit to proceed in May 2020.

The foreign emoluments clause states absent congressional consent, no one holding any office of profit or trust shall “accept of any present, emolument, office or title, of any kind whatever” from any foreign government.

The domestic emoluments clause bars a president from receiving any emolument, beyond a fixed salary, “from the United States, or any of them.”

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