Anti-Trump “resistance” groups have been angling for the advantage since the day he was inaugurated, and many of them were placing their faith not in the Trump/Russia probe but in a separate attack based on the so-called “Emoluments Clause” of the Constitution. A lesser-known aspect of our founding document, this clause prevents presidents from accepting gifts from foreign governments unless otherwise approved by Congress. According to these groups (and the lawsuits they filed on behalf of their fanciful notions), Trump’s international business interests were in violation of the Emoluments Clause and his presidency itself was therefore unconstitutional. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed suit in January, hoping that their case would bring a swift end to this undesired administration.
Unfortunately for them, their case has now come to an end. The judge didn’t bother ruling on the actual merits of the claims, however, so there’s a chance this could come back to haunt the president at a later time. Until then, it will have to be someone else sitting in the plaintiff’s seat, because the court decided that the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics did not have standing to sue the federal government in the first place.
From the NY Times:
Judge George B. Daniels of United States District Court in Manhattan found that the plaintiffs had failed to show that they had suffered as a result of specific actions by Mr. Trump intended to drum up business for his enterprises. Even before Mr. Trump took office, the judge said, “he had amassed wealth and fame and was competing against” the plaintiffs.
“It is only natural that interest in his properties has generally increased since he became president,” the judge said. Moreover, Judge Daniels said, customers might be patronizing Mr. Trump’s hotels and his hotels’ restaurants because of price or quality — reasons totally unrelated to his presidency.
Beyond that, the judge found, the emoluments clauses of the Constitution are intended to protect the country against presidential corruption from foreign influences or financial incentives that might be offered by either states or the federal government. They were not meant to protect businesses from competition from presidentially owned enterprises, he ruled.
That’s a huge strikeout for the so-called Resistance and another sign for disenchanted liberals that their hopes of kicking Donald Trump out of the White House early will not come to fruition. Perhaps this decision (along with the passing of time) will, one day, convince them that they actually LOST the election last November.
But we’re not sure anything can actually pop that bubble.