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.


                            Judge dismisses emoluments lawsuit against Donald Trump alleging he violated Constitution

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. 



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. 

Donald Trump, flanked by Republican lawmakers, celebrates Congress passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Getty Images)

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.

 



 

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.

People participate in a Tax Day protest on April 15, 2017 in New York City. (Getty Images)

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.

 



"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.

 People participate in a Tax Day protest on April 15, 2017 in New York City. (Getty Images)

"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.

People participate in a Tax Day protest on April 15, 2017 in New York City. (Getty Images)

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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