States can sue Trump over alleged Constitutional violation, federal judge rules

10 FOR TODAY Thursday

10 FOR TODAY Thursday

Last week, Trump was issued a summons in the case, which was expanded to include his capacity as a businessman.

The ruling, which is likely to be appealed, was made by US District Judge Peter J. Messitte.

Messitte's ruling narrowed the scope of the lawsuit to just the hotel, which has hosted events from several foreign embassies.

Messitte did grant Trump's bid to dismiss part of the suit that focused on profits from the Trump Organization warned outside of D.C. and said that he will consider other dismissal requests pertaining to the case. Both D.C. and Maryland own properties that may compete with the Trump hotels, and claimed they could lose money as a result. Last month, the Treasury Department said it received a check from the business meant to cover a year ago, but would not confirm the check's amount or date. Frosh wrote in a tweet.

The suit accuses Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars elected officials from receiving gifts or benefits from foreign governments without the approval of Congress.

Those clauses were dusty corners of the Constitution, rarely tested in court during 240-plus years of American history. The other prohibits presidents from taking side payments from individual states. The AGs mainly argue that governments like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have spent thousands of dollars at Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel to curry favor with the president.

While the matter of legal standing is now settled, the question of how the emoluments clause applies is still far from settled, as the potential emoluments are hotels rooms and booking for banquet spaces, not jewelry or horses-and the president's lawyers have argued there is no comparison and the claims are not serious.

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The first step in all these cases has been an argument over what lawyers call "standing" - in essence, does the plaintiff have a right to sue in the first place?

Last year, a similar lawsuit from a watchdog organization was dismissed by Federal Judge George Daniels of the District Court for the District of NY in respect of "lack of standing", stating that the claims should be resolved through the "political process".

In December, a federal judge in NY ruled that plaintiffs in two other emoluments suits lacked standing, so dismissed the case.

Brett Shumate, a Justice Department attorney, called the Maryland-D.C. lawsuit "an abstract political disagreement" that should be thrown out entirely. The AGs also said state governments, like Maine's, have patronized the hotel, which has also sought to market itself specifically to diplomats.

There is little case law on the emoluments clauses, as they have rarely been used in litigation.

"The President could continue to receive unlimited "emoluments" from foreign and state governments without the least oversight and with absolute impunity", Messitte wrote.

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