A total of 215 Democrat members of Congress thought they had President Donald Trump dead to rights when they filed a lawsuit accusing him of a violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
Little did they know, a 1997 Supreme Court decision that was reaffirmed in 2019 by none other than Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be their undoing.
Sorry, Dems, not this time
Last week, Democrats were heartbroken to learn their emoluments case was tossed on appeal. The decision came down from a split-ideological panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that offered a unanimous opinion on the matter.
Within that opinion, the judges cited the fact that lawmakers as individuals cannot claim to represent an institution, and as such, cannot file such a suit without doing so as a collective majority.
“Our conclusion is straightforward because the Members — 29 Senators and 186 Members of the House of Representatives — do not constitute a majority of either body and are, therefore, powerless to approve or deny the president’s acceptance of foreign emoluments,” the decision stated.
The appeals court cited the 2019 case of Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, an opinion that was rendered by Justice Ginsburg. The recent ruling stated, “After Raines and Bethune-Hill, only an institution can assert an institutional injury.”
Still no case
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the main Democrat behind the case, was upset the case was tossed, but he also felt vindicated that the court did not throw the case out based on its premise.
Well, we hate to break it to Blumenthal, but even that accusation falls on Trump’s side. The emoluments clause of the Constitution states:
No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
The case alleges that since Donald Trump did not place his businesses in a blind trust when he entered office, foreign diplomats patronage of the president’s hotels constitutes a violation of the clause.
Instead of placing his businesses in a blind trust, Trump turned his businesses over to his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. His sons were ready to take the helm, and besides that, Trump’s business was worldwide, service-oriented, and already had government contracts in place.
Additionally, if we are to believe reports, the family business has taken a considerable hit, not a gain in net worth, so this presidency has actually cost Trump dearly in terms of business profit. According to Forbes Magazine, Trump’s net worth prior to running for office was $3.7 billion. Today, Forbes has estimated that his net worth is only about 69 percent of that.
So, if Democrats can prove how losing more than a billion dollars is beneficial to anyone, by all means, ring Trump up on an emoluments clause violation.