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Another One Bites The Dust: Appeals Court Throws Out Democrat Congressional Emoluments Lawsuit Against Trump

Another One Bites The Dust: Appeals Court Throws Out Democrat Congressional Emoluments Lawsuit Against Trump

The three judges agreed “the lawmakers didn’t have legal standing to proceed with their claims.”

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/01/politics/trump-inauguration-gigapixel/

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit “threw out a lawsuit by more than 200 Democratic members of Congress that alleged President Trump was improperly profiting from his presidency.”

The three judges ruled unanimously. They agreed “the lawmakers didn’t have legal standing to proceed with their claims.”

In the opinion, the judges said the Democratic lawmakers “couldn’t assert the institutional interests of the House or Senate against the president because the group didn’t constitute a majority in the legislature and couldn’t represent Congress as a whole.”

The judges also wrote:

“The Members can, and likely will, continue to use their weighty voices to make their case to the American people, their colleagues in the Congress and the President himself, all of whom are free to engage that argument as they see fit,” the judges wrote. “But we will not—indeed we cannot—participate in this debate.”

The lawmakers filed the lawsuit in June 2017. Professor Jacobson wrote at that time, “In a rational world, this lawsuit would have zero chance of success.”

Professor Jacobson is traveling, but sent in this message:

“It is not surprising that the lawsuit was thrown out. Democrats have been following people like Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe off a political and legal cliff with legal theories stretching to get Trump. While some District Courts buy into these theories, they almost uniformly have failed at the appeals court and Supreme Court level. It takes time, but legal sanity eventually prevails.”

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Comments

Is there a blog or website called, “Legal Insanity”?

If Congress wants to enforce the emolument’s clause it must first pass enabling legislation.

    Milhouse in reply to dystopia. | February 7, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    No, it doesn’t. No legislation is needed, because the constitution itself expressly forbids anyone holding an office of profit or trust under the United States from accepting any “present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state” without Congress’s consent. This is enforced regularly.

    The presidency is not an “office … under the United States”. That is why it doesn’t apply to Trump. But this court never got to that issue; it dismissed the case over standing. Had the case been brought by a majority of members of both houses, who clearly would have standing because their permission would be needed, then the court would have had to reach the underlying issue.

So, they said they didn’t have standing because they weren’t a majority? That seems… problematic.

They also seem to be saying “We can’t play here because this is a political fight.” Ummmm, wouldn’t a violation of the Constitution by the Executive branch be a legitimate question for the courts? Couldn’t they at least respond with a legal definition of “emoluments” so future lawsuits could at least be based on something other than hurt feelings?

    dystopia in reply to GWB. | February 7, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Political fights involving separation of powers may be grist for the judiciary. But this is an attempt to throw political snowballs at the President based on speculative assertions and no underlying statutes defining boundaries.

    Dusty Pitts in reply to GWB. | February 7, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Couldn’t they at least respond with a legal definition of “emoluments”…?

    Congress’ job, not the courts’.

      Tom Servo in reply to Dusty Pitts. | February 7, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      There has been an accepted legal definition of Emoluments for 250 years. It has NEVER included moneys paid for goods delivered, or non-governmental services rendered. Dems are trying to change the definition to attack Trump, and that is the core reason it keeps failing.

        Dusty Pitts in reply to Tom Servo. | February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

        Democrats project. At any rate, my answer was essentially the same as Close The Fed’s, a statement of principle rather than addressing a specific case.

        Exactly.
        The law is meant to prevent obvious graft/bribery of officials by foreign entities/countries. Like the scene in The Godfather II where Americans present the Cuban head of state with a solid gold princess telephone as a “gesture of respect”. Or, for example, hiring an official’s adult kid for a lucrative, no show, “job” that they have no qualifications for (ahem).

        It is not meant to make owning a business that sells goods or services to the general public defined as a criminal enterprise if it so happens that not all customers are US citizens, If Harry Truman had still owned a haberdashery shop while president, it would have been legal for his shop to sell the Russian Premier a hat. (Assuming, of course, the hat was sold at market price).

        Similarity, if Conrad Hilton ran for and was elected to high office, it would not be illegal for him to rent rooms to visiting Russian diplomats. At market rates.

          Milhouse in reply to BobM. | February 8, 2020 at 7:06 pm

          As president the clause wouldn’t apply anyway, but change “president” to “secretary of state”, for example, and you would be correct that this is not an emolument.

    Concise in reply to GWB. | February 7, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    How on earth is this “problematic”? It’s pretty clear and simple. Individual members lack the capacity to assert the interests of the legislature as a whole. What exactly don’t you understand or object to?

      Tom Servo in reply to Concise. | February 7, 2020 at 12:52 pm

      Exactly – if they had a majority, then they could pass a piece of legislation, and then the Senate could pass it, and THEN if that legislation is ignored, they can take it to court. That’s the path to getting what they want.

      and if you DON’T have a majority, then shut up and go away.

        Milhouse in reply to Tom Servo. | February 7, 2020 at 5:15 pm

        They wouldn’t need legislation. A majority of the congress, believing that an officer of the USA had accepted a foreign emolument without their permission, could take action directly.

      Close The Fed in reply to Concise. | February 7, 2020 at 1:11 pm

      Concise, I don’t think it’s necessary to be so sharp in reply to GWB. He posited a good faith position and basically asked a question.

      Thanks.

        Tom Servo in reply to Close The Fed. | February 7, 2020 at 1:29 pm

        It’s easy to forget that some posting here have legal expertise, some do not. GWB’s questions were an honest laypersons questions. For those with legal expertise, the answer to GWB’s 2 questions were slam dunks of long standing well settled law.

        “Ummmm, wouldn’t a violation of the Constitution by the Executive branch be a legitimate question for the courts?” Nope, not unless it is a part of some specific Case or Controversy.

        “Couldn’t they at least respond with a legal definition of “emoluments” so future lawsuits could at least be based on something other than hurt feelings?” Nope, because “Advisory Opinions” are strictly forbidden, by the same “Case or Controversy” requirement.

        If I was too sharp then I warn you to stay out of comment sections on other sites. It would only frighten you.

    Close The Fed in reply to GWB. | February 7, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    GWB, it’s a basic doctrine of the judicial action, NOT to give what are termed “advisory opinions.”

    In advisory opinions, there wouldn’t be an actual case or controversy and therefore, the issues wouldn’t be as honed.

    Also, the courts don’t want to be in the business of giving what amounts to legal advice and opening the floodgates to litigants just trying to get advisory opinions.

    Also, they don’t want to tie their hands by writing advisory opinions, so that when a real case or controversy comes before it, it won’t be bound by such.

    Not a lawyer but what I take the court to be saying is that they filed their lawsuit identifying as members of Congress. They 200 signees does not constitute a majority so they cannot speak for Congress. They have no standing to even be filing their lawsuit as it is constituted.

    Milhouse in reply to GWB. | February 7, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    So, they said they didn’t have standing because they weren’t a majority? That seems… problematic.

    What’s problematic about it? A majority of both houses would have standing, because their permission would be needed for an officer to accept a foreign emolument. But the plaintiffs in this case are not a majority, so their permission is not needed. Hence no standing.

    They also seem to be saying “We can’t play here because this is a political fight.” Ummmm, wouldn’t a violation of the Constitution by the Executive branch be a legitimate question for the courts?

    No, political questions are none of the business of the judicial branch; they’re for the other two branches to work out between them.

    Couldn’t they at least respond with a legal definition of “emoluments” so future lawsuits could at least be based on something other than hurt feelings?

    The constitution gives courts the authority to pronounce only if there is an actual case before them. The Federalist Papers list that as the major constraint on the judiciary’s power.

      I appreciate your response (and the others). (Referencing the Federalist Papers helps, too.)

      But how is a violation* of Constitutional prohibitions a “political question”? I would think that question would be inherently legal. And, yes, everything ultimately comes down to politics (“Where is the Chief Justice’s army?”), but it would seem a healthy system would have that finding of fact resolved in a court.

      (* I know Trump hasn’t actually violated anything like the emoluments clause.)

      Oh! And the “problematic” comment was my flinch at the idea that any minority (numbers, not skin color or whatnot) might be turned away. It put my hackles up. (I get y’all’s point about this specific case.)

        OnPoint in reply to GWB. | February 8, 2020 at 8:42 am

        It’s not legal until there is a properly formed case before the courts. The judiciary can’t just fire off random opinions about random legal questions, even good ones. In other words, the judiciary is not a pundit. The judiciary settles proper judicial conflicts. If Congress were to properly approach the question of emoluments, it would hold a vote of both houses to enforce the emoluments clause against the President and that would then be a properly formed case on which the judiciary could rule. To put it another way, a random set of Congress critters are not Congress itself. To put names to it, you don’t want someone like Maxine Waters to be launching lawsuits by herself, claiming that because she’s in Congress that she has the whole force of Congress behind her. She has one vote. She is not Congress. Similarly, you don’t want a random judge in a random jurisdiction spouting off on his own personal opinion about whether DJT has violated the emoluments clause without any case before him.

        Milhouse in reply to GWB. | February 8, 2020 at 7:12 pm

        The “political question” doctrine says that the courts have no jurisdiction over matters that are inherently for the political branches to work out among themselves.

        For instance the Republican Guarantee clause is a political matter; if in the president’s a state does not have a republican form of government he can send troops in to install one, and/or congress can refuse to seat the representatives and senators from that state, but if the president and congress decline to act, claiming that they thing the state government is republican enough, the courts can’t decide otherwise and order them to act.

Congress apparently has nothing important to do.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | February 7, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Wow! More BIG Trouble for the DEMS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Refuses DNC Chair’s Request For Recanvass

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price dismissed DNC Chair Tom Perez’s call for a recanvass of the Iowa caucus vote Thursday ….in a statement, Price said the only way a recanvass would be undertaken is if a Democratic presidential candidate requests one and makes a credible case for why it is warranted.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2020/02/07/iowa-democratic-party-chair-refuses-dnc-chairs-request-for-recount-n2560931

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | February 7, 2020 at 7:56 pm

HOW SWEET IT IS!!!!!!!!

Know it is belated, but Ace of Spades analysis of Rush receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the SOTU is so Delicious!!!!

“They (DEMS & Media) also have the vapors because Rush Limbaugh was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the SOTU. The Democrats are probably mad because they had to be there for it. I mean, think about it, Trump could’ve just held a small ceremony for Rush in the Oval Office and it probably wouldn’t have been covered by any news outlet except Fox. But the Democrats had to sit there and watch while one one of the highest honors this country can give was bestowed on one of their most hated enemies. In fact, before the Age of Trump, liberals hated Rush the worst. He was their number one bad guy. They did everything they could to shut him up, boycott him, get him taken off the air, but nothing worked. They tried to cancel him via pressuring his advertisers, but Rush hired some internet sleuths to analyze what was going on and they found out that all of the noise was being generated by maybe a dozen activists, i.e. it wasn’t a grass roots protest, but rather an Astro-turfing scam.”

http://acecomments.mu.nu/?post=385675

OH and it just gets better!

The 4 top DEM aides in charge of organizing their national convention in Milwaukee just resigned per Fox’s “The Five.”

About 4 1/2 minutes into it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO2FuFx3Q6s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO2FuFx3Q6s

Trump should see about a special prosecutor for pelosi and her hundred + millions of dollars and where they came from.
Pretty sure she’d be in a “gated” community along with bill cosby a lot sooner than PDJT would ever be.

The Judges knew that.
But they tried anyway.

AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | February 8, 2020 at 10:20 am

“It takes time, but legal sanity eventually prevails.”

Yes, this is true, but at what cost? This lawfare nonsense forces innocent people to pay for their defense, which gets especially problematic when they have to defend themselves on multiple occasions.

I don’t like tinkering with the law, but at some point someone who brings specious claims to court should pay the defendant’s legal fees.

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