Appeals Court Delays Emoluments Lawsuit against Trump

Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion | 12/21/2018 | Jared Samilow
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Last night, the Fourth Circuit stayed Maryland and Washington, D.C.’s Emoluments Clause lawsuit against President Trump in its entirety, while scheduling oral argument in the case to begin on March 19, 2019.

This means that the litigation will be completely paused until the court reaches a decision on the President’s petition, which won’t be for at least three months.

Consideration - Submissions - Motion - Stay - Court

Upon consideration of submissions relative to petitioner’s motion for stay, the court grants the motion and stays the district court proceedings pending proceedings before this court. This case is scheduled for oral argument during the March 2019 term, March 19-21, 2019.

The parties should be prepared to argue not only the procedural issues regarding the mandamus petition but also the underlying issues of (1) whether the two Emoluments Clauses provide plaintiffs with a cause of action to seek injunctive relief and (2) whether the plaintiffs have alleged legally cognizable injuries sufficient to support standing to obtain relief against the President.

Delay - Deal - Imminent - Discovery - President

The delay is actually a big deal. It means that imminent, intrusive discovery into the President’s finances will be stalled for months, and perhaps never allowed to proceed.

Dozens of outstanding subpoenas authorized by the trial judge—several of which were served on the Trump International Hotel and Trump Organization just two weeks ago—are now frozen. Importantly, the stay has also spared the Solicitor General from having to spend his precious (and perhaps diminishing) capital seeking yet another emergency intervention from the Supreme Court.

Implications - Case - Questions - Areas - Constitution

Yet aside from its political implications, the case presents novel questions about areas of the Constitution the Supreme Court has never really had a reason to explore.

It all started in June 2017 when the attorneys general of Maryland and D.C. sued Trump, alleging that, through his businesses, he is violating two obscure provisions of the Constitution: The Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses. The Foreign...
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