Supreme Court dismisses emoluments cases against Trump


The Supreme Court dismissed lawsuits against former President Trump on Monday that claimed he violated the Constitution by accepting gifts from foreign officials.

The legal battles concerned the Emoluments Clause, which bans government officials from receiving gifts or profit while in office. 

The lawsuits claimed Mr. Trump‘s commercial businesses received profits from foreign officials during his time as president in violation of the law.

The justices, though, remanded the cases back to the lower courts on Monday with instructions to dismiss the legal battles as moot. The move came just days after Mr. Trump formally left office and is no longer a government official.

One of the legal actions was brought by the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, while the other was brought by the state of Maryland and Washington.

Karl A. Racine, attorney general for the District of Columbia, and Brian E. Frosh, attorney general of Maryland, touted their historic anti-corruption lawsuit in a joint statement, noting the high court dismissed it as moot since Mr. Trump is no longer president.

“We 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,” they said.

Their lawsuit focused its concerns on the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, noting in court documents that “officials of a number of foreign and state governments have patronized the Hotel, and that ‘the President’s receipt of benefits from these sources violates both the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses.’ ”

The CREW lawsuit was filed on behalf of hotels, arguing they suffered competitive disadvantage as foreign officials would choose to stay at the former president’s businesses to garner favor.

Mr. Trump had challenged both lawsuits, claiming there was no sufficient injury suffered by the plaintiffs in either challenge.

On appeal, the circuit courts disagreed with Mr. Trump, which led to the former president filing petitions before the justices.

The high court on Monday, just days after Mr. Trump left office, remanded the cases back to the lower courts with instructions to dismiss them as moot. 

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