Appeals Court Throws Out Democrats' Lawsuit Against Trump
President scores another win in case claiming he violated Constitution’s emoluments clau
President Donald Trump scored yet another win on Friday, as a three-judge panel ruled against congressional Democrats, and threw out their emoluments lawsuit.
The suit is the first case where Democrats sued Trump, alleging that the president violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
The lawsuit argues that Presdient Trump violated the clause because his ownership of certain businesses meant that he was receiving payments from foreign officials without approval from Congress.
The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution states that “no person holding any office … shall, without the consent of Congress” accept gifts or other benefits from foreign states.
Democrats had issued over 35 subpoenas demanding a response from the Trump administration by July 29 after Emmet Sullivan of the US District Court in Washington ruled in January that they could continue with the legal discovery process.
The Justice Department then asked an appeals court to block the lawsuit, which was first filed on June 14, 2017, writing that Trump was “likely to suffer irreparable injury” because of “intrusive discovery into his personal finances based on the public office he holds.”
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in a 12-page decision that Democrat lawmakers behind the suit lack the standing required to sue, according to Breitbart.
“The Members can, and likely will, continue to use their weighty voices to make their case to the American people, their colleagues in the Congress and the President himself, all of whom are free to engage that argument as they see fit,” the decision reads.
“But we will not—indeed we cannot—participate in this debate.
"The Constitution permits the Judiciary to speak only in the context of an Article III case or controversy and this lawsuit presents neither.”
The clause prohibits federal officials from receiving payments from foreign governments without Congressional approval.
President Trump relinquished control over the Trump Organization, which includes his portfolio of hotels and golf clubs, to his children Donald Jr. and Eric Trump.
The president still has ownership over the group of nearly 500 business entities.
“I’ll be reading it on the helicopter, but it was a total win,” the president told reporters of the decision on the White House lawn.
The development comes after the panel of three judges expressed doubt in December as to whether individual members of Congress could bring the suit, rather than Congress.
“You are not here representing Congress.” Judge Thomas Griffith remarked to an attorney representing the over 200 lawmakers at the time.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is considering an emoluments suit against the president by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) and Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine (D).
The progressive group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had its emolument case revived by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in September.
The decision marks another victory this week for President Trump, who is fresh off being acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial and a State of the Union address that received rave reviews.
Earlier Monday, the Department of Labor announced that the U.S. economy added 225,000 jobs in January, smashing expectations of 158,000 jobs.