After Donald Trump’s election, he and his administration have been the target of unrelenting lawfare. While the administration is winning a large number of these cases, winning takes time and effort and slows down other things. What makes these attacks different is that not only is the Trump administration targeted, but President Trump, himself, is often the target. For instance, the lawsuits to force release of his income tax returns, a lawsuit (decided yesterday) that declared he could not block people on Twitter (the First Amendment apparently now includes the right to be heard), and, the favorite, a lawsuit by Maryland and the District of Columbia claiming that President Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause to the Constitution,
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the US Constitution reads:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
How does this apply to Trump?
Trump retains an interest in the various Trump properties and the theory goes that because foreign leaders stay a some of these properties that this constitutes a payment by foreign governments to Trump. It is hard to read that train of logic without laughing out loud but, I fear, that the people who filed the lawsuit were actually deadly serious.
Today, that court delivered a resounding victory for President Trump:
A federal appeals court Wednesday sided with President Trump, dismissing a lawsuit claiming the president is illegally profiting from foreign and state government visitors at his luxury hotel in downtown Washington.
The unanimous ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is a victory for the president in a novel case brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia involving anti-corruption provisions in the emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
In its ruling, the three-judge panel said the attorneys general lacked legal standing to bring the lawsuit alleging the president is violating the Constitution when his business accepts payments from state and foreign governments. The decision — from Judges Paul V. Niemeyer, Dennis W. Shedd and A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. — also stops dozens of subpoenas to federal government agencies and Trump’s private business entities for financial records related to the D.C. hotel.
“The District and Maryland’s interest in enforcing the Emoluments Clauses is so attenuated and abstract that their prosecution of this case readily provokes the question of whether this action against the President is an appropriate use of the courts, which were created to resolve real cases and controversies between the parties,” Niemeyer wrote in the 36-page opinion.
President Trump was justifiably jubilant.
….serving and doing a great job as your President (including accepting Zero salary!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2019
We might as well get used to this strategy of harassment by lawsuit as long as Trump is in the White House. And we probably should keep it foremost in our minds the next time a Democrat resides there.