Judge dismisses emoluments lawsuit against Donald Trump alleging he violated Constitution
The judge said that the plaintiffs had not provided any evidence which proved that the foreign payments to Trump's businesses posed any injury.
A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump on Thursday, accusing him of violating the Constitution by taking in payments from foreign entities for his businesses. The lawsuit alleged that the president was violating the Emoluments Clause by accepting payments for his businesses.
The Title of Nobility Clause or the Emoluments Clause is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, which prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility, and restricts members of the government from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices or titles from foreign states without the US Congress' consent.
If there's two things that Donald Trump and Roy Moore hate, it's women and the Constitution.— Oliver Griswold (@originalgriz) December 11, 2017
The US District Court Judge George B. Daniels in Manhattan said that the lawsuit filed by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) lacked standing and that the plaintiffs had not provided any evidence which proved injury.
The lawsuit stated that President Trump's "vast, complicated and secret" business interests have violated the Domestic and Foreign Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution. The clause was designed to prevent federal officers from taking bribes from foreign entities.
The plaintiffs also alleged that it was unconstitutional for Trump's businesses to benefit from foreign representatives staying at his hotels and eating at his restaurants while Trump is in office. The lawsuit referred to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., just blocks away from the White House.
Donald Trump is a disgrace to the office of the presidency and an embarrassment to this country. He has no respect for our constitution or system of government. His demonizing of people and cultures not of his own is disgusting.— Mogg (@DKMogg) December 8, 2017
The District Court Judge did not elaborate on whether Trump was in breach of the Emoluments Clause or not, and stated that it was a case for the Congress to investigate.
The watchdog group seemed displeased with the outcome of the lawsuit and said that they never thought that they would have to sue the president and that they hoped he would take necessary actions to avoid violating the Constitution.
"The Constitution's emoluments clauses are core protections against destabilizing foreign and domestic corruption," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.
Has Donald Trump ever read the Constitution of the United States of America?— andy lassner (@andylassner) December 17, 2017
"We never thought we would have to sue the president to enforce them; we hoped that President Trump would take the necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office. He did not, and we were forced to bring our landmark Emoluments case because the plaintiffs in this case—and the American people—have been directly harmed by the president's violations," the statement added.
"While today's ruling is a setback, we will not walk away from this serious and ongoing constitutional violation. The Constitution is explicit on these issues, and the president is clearly in violation. Our legal team is weighing its options and will soon lay out our decisions on how to proceed," the watchdog group said.
Trump, as a businessman, has made his fortune in real estate, marketing, and entertainment. He, however, has been reluctant in releasing his taxes, breaking decades of precedent where US presidential candidates released their tax returns during their campaigns.
Trump's refusal of releasing his taxes has fuelled concerns of possible conflicts-of-interest and his source of income.
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