Appeals court tosses emoluments suit against Trump

A federal appeals court panel has unanimously thrown out a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign and state governments while serving as president.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia — who joined together to file the suit against Trump in 2017 — lacked legal standing to object to his alleged violations of the Constitution’s clauses prohibiting receipt of so-called “emoluments” while in office.

Writing for the court, Judge Paul Niemeyer concluded that the case turned on unduly speculative claims that the Washington, D.C. and Maryland governments were being harmed by people favoring Trump’s D.C. hotel in order to curry favor with him.

“The District and Maryland’s theory of proprietary harm hinges on the conclusion that government customers are patronizing the Hotel because the Hotel distributes profits or dividends to the President, rather than due to any of the Hotel’s other characteristics,” Niemeyer wrote.

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