The United States Supreme Court launched two lawsuits on Monday, claiming former President Donald Trump’s business dealings violated the Constitution’s prohibition on receiving financial benefits from foreign states or officials.
The cases have raised a new question about a president’s ability to receive income from businesses sponsored by government officials. But once Trump stepped down, it was assumed the cases would be dismissed as moot because the constitutional provision would no longer apply to him – leaving the legal questions they raised unanswered.
The problem arose shortly after Trump took office. The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia challenged his perception of profits from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, a few blocks from the White House. And a nonprofit group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has raised similar concerns about the Trump International Hotel in New York.
Although Trump’s lawyers aggressively fought the lawsuits, lower courts refused to dismiss the cases, so the president took the matter to the Supreme Court. Both trials involved the emoluments clauses of the Constitution, which prohibit the president from receiving “any gift, emolument, office or title of any kind from a king, prince or Foreign state ”or any state in the United States.
Maryland and Washington have argued that the president has unduly benefited financially whenever foreign or state governments frequented the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Their lawsuits said government officials wanted to curry favor with him, so they frequented his hotel at the expense of the DC Convention Center and the Maryland National Port Development, both of which earn local tax revenue and help businesses. of the region.
A federal court of appeal sided with New York groups demanding similar emoluments.
“The president’s establishments offer government patrons something that complainants cannot: the opportunity, by enriching the president, to obtain favorable government treatment from the president and the executive,” he said. -he declares.
After the presidential election, the Justice Ministry urged the Supreme Court to close cases and overturn lower court rulings that found a violation of emolument clauses. Allowing them to stand would leave “a flawed decision on the books that this court has not had a chance to review,” government lawyers said.
In a brief order, the Supreme Court dismissed the cases and ordered lower courts to overturn their decisions, wiping earlier decisions from the books.
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