United States appeals court hands win to Trump in emoluments case

Lester Mason
July 13, 2019

The District and Maryland also alleged that the hotel, by virtue of its ties to the U.S. President, is diverting business and potential wages away from competing hotels, and is therefore doing harm to people in their districts. In response to the claims of him illegally profiting from government visitors, he went on to say he actually loses money "for the honor of serving" as our president.

If they intend on continuing their case, the attorneys could petition the court for an en banc (full court) review or appeal to the Supreme Court.

The appeals court decision marks the first legal victory for President Trump as his legal team fights legal challenges on several fronts.

Three judges in the Richmond, Virgina federal appeals court ruled unanimously that the governments of Maryland and Washington DC did not have standing to file the suit, which accused Trump of violating a constitutional ban on profiting from public office.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice, which is representing Trump in multiple emoluments lawsuits, said in a written statement to Newsweek that it is "pleased that the Fourth Circuit unanimously chose to dismiss this extraordinarily flawed case".

Mr Trump opened the Trump International Hotel, just blocks from the White House, shortly before he was elected in November 2016.

Maryland-based U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte a year ago allowed the lawsuit to proceed - a ruling that Trump appealed to the 4th Circuit.

The lawsuit alleges that, in failing to disengage from the hotel, Trump has made himself vulnerable to inducements by foreign governments seeking to curry favour, violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

"Today's pair of decisions by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is a complete victory", Trump's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement. These gifts often end up in the national archives or in the presidential libraries of the presidents who received them (in which case they would be on loan from the USA government).


Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh issued a joint statement that said the panel of judges "got it wrong", and that they will continue to pursue their legal options.

The Department of Justice said it was pleased that the court had ruled to dismiss the case, which it called "extraordinarily flawed".

This case overturned a Maryland judge's decision previous year, in which a judge ruled that the attorneys general did had a legal standing to go to trial. The three-judge panel, consisting of Judges Paul V. Niemeyer, Dennis W. Shedd, and A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr.

In plain English, the court's decision ultimately hinged upon whether or not Trump's businesses clearly harm D.C. and Maryland by diverting business from similar properties.

For potential violations of the domestic emoluments clause, they cited Trump's lease for the hotel from the federal General Services Administration and a $32 million historic-preservation tax credit.

Rejecting the trial judge's findings, the three-judge panel found that the plaintiffs did not have standing and chose to dismiss the case.

Although the lower court found this to be sufficient standing and interest, the appeals court has concluded that the suit seeks to enforce the Emoluments Clauses "which, by their terms, give no rights and provide no remedies".

Media captionWho is behind the projections on the Trump Hotel?

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER