Bar Exams in the Pandemic JURIST Digital Scholars
Supreme Court declines to hear suit claiming Trump illegally profited from presidency
Photo Credit: Stephanie Sundier
Supreme Court declines to hear suit claiming Trump illegally profited from presidency

A suit brought by Democratic lawmakers in 2017 against US President Donald Trump has ended with the Supreme Court declining to hear the case on Tuesday.

The suit alleged that Trump violated the emoluments clause of the US Constitution by profiting from the presidency. The emoluments clause “prohibits any person holding government office from accepting any present, emolument, office, or title from any ‘King, Prince, or foreign State,’ without congressional consent” in order to prevent foreign influence and corruption.

However, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which most recently heard the case, held that the suit should be dismissed, stating that the lawmakers lacked the requisite standing to sue. Specifically, it stated that a single part of a bicameral legislature cannot have the capacity to assert the interests of everyone.

The lawmakers brought their case to the Supreme Court asking whether “legislators have standing to seek judicial relief when their votes have been ‘completely nullified.'” In declining to hear the case, the decision of the DC Circuit stands, and the lawsuit is dismissed.

There are still two other cases alleging that Trump violated the emoluments clause pending before the Supreme Court, one brought by the District of Columbia and the other brought by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.