Federal judge rules congressional Democrats may pursue Trump emoluments lawsuit
© Wikimedia (Gage Skidmore)
Federal judge rules congressional Democrats may pursue Trump emoluments lawsuit

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday that Democratic members of Congress may sue President Donald Trump over alleged violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause [Cornell LII backgrounder] of the Constitution.

Under the Foreign Emoluments Clause, federal officials, including the president, are not allowed to accept any foreign “present, Emolument, Office, or Title” without permission from Congress.

The congressional Democrats filed suit [JURIST report] last year, alleging “that the President ‘has a financial interest in vast business holdings around the world that engage in dealings with foreign governments and receive benefits from those governments.'” Because of this financial interest, they claim that the president has and will continue to accept emoluments from foreign states. They further allege that “because the President has denied them the opportunity to give or withhold their consent, he has injured them in their roles as Members of Congress.”

The judge did not make any ruling on whether Trump violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause. The judge found only that the congressional Democrats have standing and are therefore able “to sue the President for allegedly violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause.”

In July, a federal judge allowed a separate lawsuit [JURIST report] under the Emoluments Clause to proceed.