👩⚖️ SCOTUS dismisses emoluments clause cases against Trump
Dust off your Con Law textbook. The emoluments clause came up again, although perhaps for the last time for a while because the Supreme Court dismissed two lawsuits against Trump regarding the clause.
In case you forgot: The emoluments clause of the Constitution forbids federal government officials from receiving things of value from domestic or international leaders without the consent of Congress. (Ben Franklin helped inspire the clause because of gifts he received from France).
The Trump lawsuits were about hotels: One argued Trump was violating the constitution by receiving payments from foreign leaders who stayed at his D.C. hotel. The other argued that Trump’s D.C. hotel had an unfair advantage over competitors because international leaders wanted to stay there to gain influence. In recent rulings, appeals courts had ruled both cases could proceed.
Then, Trump lost
He’s no longer president, so the Supreme Court said there was “no case or controversy” and dismissed the cases, wiping out any precedent that could have been set by the lower courts.
The decision to dismiss may be bigger than emoluments: SCOTUS also must decide on a 2017 Trump lawsuit in which Trump was accused of violating the First Amendment when he blocked followers. Trump’s DOJ, before he left office, asked the court to wipe out that case, too.
SCOTUS’ decision means we still don’t have an answer as to whether the emoluments clause holds up in any relevant way. Con Law professors will continue to just hypothesize.