Link is to the Writ of Mandamus from the Fourth Circuit directed at the District Court.
The Fourth Circuit concluded that neither the District of Columbia nor the State of Maryland (and associated plaintiffs) could show any concrete injury by way of Trump’s hotel, thus they failed to show Article III standing to bring suit. Accordingly, the Fourth Circuit granted the Writ of Mandamus instructing the District Court to dismiss the case with prejudice.
This essentially ends the whole emoluments clause business. The en banc Fourth Circuit is unlikely to over rule the panel and the Supreme Court will obviously have no interest in reviving this dispute.
Regardless of your views on the merits, I believe dismissing this for lack of standing is entirely correct. The Plaintiffs have never established what harm will be done to themselves, outside of the most tenuous and theoretical of situations. Article III standing requires actual harm be shown, and the Plaintiffs have clearly failed to show actual harm.
That is not what the court said. The decision wasn’t that Trump wasn’t violating the emoluments clause. The decision was that Maryland and DC weren’t injured parties, allowed to bring the legal action. It said nothing about the facts of the claim that Trump is profiting from foreign entities through his presidency.
The Trump hotel in DC is a interesting situation. And that is why I thought the case had merit. Trump did not divest his interest in his properties. The Trump hotel is his due to a long term lease from the federal government. And I believe that one could argue that it is a problem when the lease holder is the same as the lease giver. The Constitution didn’t take into account a situation like this one. I still think that they might take this to the higher court.
If the People or the States have no standing when the President openly violates the emoluments clause, then it is essentially meaningless, and the President is above the law as long as the Senate is complicit as well. In fact, that last statement seems to be what every single right-leaning idiot has been saying for the last three years. If the President is above the law, what is the point of the law in the first place?
Trump wasn’t in office when the lease was signed. Now if he violates the lease in any way (and selling it, or turning it over to a third party most likely violates that lease) then you might have an issue.
Even if it were put in a blind trust, it would still cary his name and people would still know about his ownership of the property.
A lease like that would have two options. The federal government paying Trump back for any and all money spent to renovate the building into something, and lost profit. Or the Federal government would have to agree to transfer of the lease to a new owner, BUT then you’d have questions of who was purchasing it, were they “overpaying” for favors from the president, was he giving someone he owed favors to a “good deal”, would there be background checks on whoever purchased it.
Remember, the founders envisioned private citizens as congress critter and president for a short time, then going back to their regular lives.