emoluments clause

D.C. Circuit Dispatches with Congressional Emoluments Suit

In a brief, direct opinion, the D.C. Circuit concludes that members of Congress lack standing to sue the President alleging a violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause

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On Friday, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered Blumenthal v. Trump dismissed for lack of Article III jurisdiction. In a brief, per curiam opinion, Judges Henderson, Tatel, and Griffith concluded that members of Congress lacked standing to sue President Trump over alleged violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause. Individual members of Congress, they explained, lack standing to sue the President over alleged legal violations.

In Blumenthal, some 215 Members of Congress alleged that the President's alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause deprived them of the opportunity to vote on whether the receipt of such emoluments was permissible, as anticipated by the text of the clause. The D.C. district court bought this argument and, more surprisingly, refused to allow an interlocutory appeal, prompting a rebuke from the D.C. Circuit.

In Friday's decision, the D.C. Circuit panel explained that this suit was clearly barred by existing Supreme Court precedent, Raines v. Byrd in particular. In Raines, the Supreme Court concluded that individual members of Congress lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the Line-Item Veto Act. In Blumenthal, the D.C. Circuit recognized plaintiffs' efforts to argue around Raines were completely unavailing, particularly in light of subsequent decisions.

The Supreme Court's recent summary reading of Raines that "individual members" of the Congress "lack standing to assert the institutional interests of a legislature" in the same way "a single House of a bicameral legislature lacks capacity to assert interests belonging to the legislature as a whole," Va.
House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, 139 S. Ct. 1945, 1953–54 (2019), puts paid to any doubt regarding the Members' lack of standing. Here, the (individual) Members concededly seek to do precisely what Bethune-Hill forbids. See Appellees' Br. at 12 (asserting Members' entitlement "to vote on whether to consent to an official's acceptance of a foreign emolument before he accepts it . . . is not a private right enjoyed in [his] personal capacity, but rather a prerogative of his office.").

The district court erred in holding that the Members suffered an injury based on "[t]he President . . . depriving [them] of the opportunity to give or withhold their consent [to foreign emoluments], thereby injuring them in their roles as members of Congress." Id. at 62 (quotation marks omitted). After Raines and Bethune-Hill, only an institution can assert an institutional injury provided the injury is not "wholly abstract and widely dispersed." Raines, 521 U.S. at 829. . . .

Our standing inquiry is "especially rigorous" in a case like this, where "reaching the merits of the dispute would force us to decide whether an action taken by one of the other two branches of the Federal Government was unconstitutional." . . . Here, regardless of rigor, our conclusion is straightforward because the Members—29 Senators and 186 Members of the House of Representatives—do not constitute a majority of either body and are, therefore, powerless to approve or deny the President's acceptance of foreign emoluments. . . . For standing, the Members' inability to act determinatively is important, see Raines, 521 U.S. at 829, and, conversely, the size of their cohort is not—so long as it is too small to act. That is, we assess this complaint—filed by 215 Members—no differently from our assessment of a complaint filed by a single Member. . . .

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. But we will not—indeed we cannot—participate in this debate. The Constitution permits the Judiciary to speak only in the context of an Article III case or controversy and this lawsuit presents neither.

Blumenthal was one of three Emoluments Clause cases filed against Trump. The other two, CREW v. Trump and D.C. v. Trump, are in the Second and Fourth Circuits, respectively. Standing has been an issue in all three cases (for some of the reasons I discussed in these posts), and has divided the various appeals panels.

Bluementhal always presented the weakest case for Article III standing of the three, and so this case is likely at an end, while the others proceed. The Second Circuit accepted the argument that competitors have standing to challenge Emoluments Clause violations, while the Fourth Circuit did not. The Fourth reheard the case en banc in December, and a petition for en banc rehearing is pending in the Second.

While Article III courts may not be able to hear suits alleging Emoulments Clause violations (at least in the absence of a statute creating a cause of action and providing a more concrete basis for standing), that does not mean there are not serious substantive concerns. In all three cases, the courts have focused primarily on jurisdictional questions, not on the underlying merits, so none of these decisions should be taken as exonerations of the President's conduct.

To this point, the Blumenthal opinion quotes from Justice Joseph Story's Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States:

[a] patriot will not be likely to be seduced from his duties to his country by the acceptance of any title, or present, from a foreign power. An intriguing, or corrupt agent, will not be restrained from guilty machinations in the service of a foreign state by such constitutional restrictions.

NEXT: Last Monday: Second Circuit Fair Use Day (Drake + Sargon of Akkad)

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  1. [a] patriot will not be likely to be seduced from his duties to his country by the acceptance of any title, or present, from a foreign power.

    What does what a patriot would do have to do with Trump?

  2. Bernard11, I better liked Story’s second sentence. “An intriguing and corrupt agent…will not be restrained…” I like the pre-Victorian language. Intrigues aren’t what they used to be.

  3. From the language of this opinion, if the Dems had added three more co-plaintiffs — for a total of 218, a bare majority of the 435-member House — they’d have won, because then they would have had the ability to act determinatively.

    But this is surely a non-merits, non-precedential dismissal. What prevents them from refiling with three more co-plaintiffs?

    1. As I pointed out in the other thread, the 215 includes 29 senators. They only had 186 members of the house. The opinion also doesn’t say that a majority of one house would have standing (much less that they’d win on the merits)—just that without a majority, they definitely lose.

      1. Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Noscitur. As to the number of senators included in the 215, thank you for the correction. And I agree that this opinion says nothing about the probability of success on the merits.

        However, having definitely lost, and having been shown how to avoid definitely losing, and having in-hand a compliant party caucus from which she regularly, every day, gets 218+ members of the House to vote how she wants, it ought to be clear to Nancy Pelosi that (1) she screwed up and (2) she can easily fix this particular screw-up.

        1. It may still have an issue even with a majority in one House because the courts understand that if they have a majority then they could bring the suit from the House after a vote thereby ensuring they have Article III standing as it is a political not legal fight between the branches.

  4. There’s a comma, instead of the ‘and’ between “intriguing” and “corrupt” in the original. Mine – wrong – see supra.

  5. An emolument is a payment derived from ones office, paying Trump for hotel rooms is not profit derived from his office, but from his hotels.

    I also find Blackman and Tillman’s interpretation of the Foreign Emoluments clause convincing, buttressed by the fact there is a separate Presidential Emoluments clause that pertains only to him.

    1. . . . paying Trump for hotel rooms is not profit derived from his office, but from his hotels.

      Not when Trump is making the decisions which require government employees to use his hotels. Note that he does not need to order them to do so to transgress. Choosing his own hotels for presidential activities creates a foreseeable need for Secret Service and other government employees to pay Trump for lodging. One might argue that if that happened once or twice it could be treated as happenstance, and dismissed. That is not the pattern. It has been reported that Trump has spent one-third of his time in office in his own hotel locations. That is milking it.

      1. That is milking it.

        Especially at $650/night.

        Trump’s defenders are absolutely blind.

        1. Just because the people they’really guarding stay in high end hotels is no reason for the secret service to do likewise. They can do their job just as effectively from a motel 6 two cities away, right Bernard.

          1. I don’t begrudge the secret service having to stay near the President. The criticism here is that the President should not stay at hotels that enrich him and his family.

            1. The Bidens charges the SS for years for staying at a cabin on his property.

              None of you made a peep.

              1. Of course people were making a peep. It was reported and commented on by major news outlets. Not hard to find, either, since Biden listed it in public spending databases. Why, in this case, do you think the secret service declined to list the payments made to President Trump in a public database?

                Let’s talk order of magnitude. The Bidens received ~$171K over 6 years. They shouldn’t have, in my view. And if it was wrong for them to do that, it is wrong for the President to spend $471K over 16 months (and we have yet to see all the President’s self-dealing in that time period).

                By the way, why do you think the President wants the release of this information delayed until after the election? If it’s innocent behavior because Biden did it, what’s the secrecy about?

                1. Sure, they made a peep.

                  I didn’t see a lawsuit over emoluments though, trying to get Biden impeached.

                  Plus, orders of magnitude matter. $171K was a massive amount to Biden. To Trump? Less than a drop in the bucket.

                2. I find it amusing that y’all never made a peep when the Obama’s took separate aircraft to their “vacations” nor the cost for the stays in Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyard, etc.

                  Nice try though.

              2. Bullshit, Sam.

                It was widely covered. In fact, Fox News was outraged.

                Biden collected about $113K over five years. That’s probably what Trump gets in a weekend. Where is Fox now?

                1. So the Bidens only received the low six figures. I guess sleaze and violations of the emoluments clause are fine as long as it’s only a lot of money, but it crosses the line for sure when it’s a whole lot of money. Right?

                  Bullshit. If you want to be credible, then aim your righteous fury at anybody that breaks a rule regardless of their political persuasion. Otherwise you just come across as what you are, a hypocritical political zealot.

                  You bitch, with good reason, about the hypocrisy of Fox News without having the self awareness to recognize that you engage in EXACTLY THE SAME BEHAVIOR.

                2. Why not compare President to President instead of President to VP?

                  Don’t forget to include all the hotel costs, flight costs, vehicles, Secret Service, etc. especially for flying the President separate from his family in the case of Obama.

          2. Is every high end hotel in the country a Trump property?

            And is it really OK to have Pence stay at one of Trump’s places in Ireland and pay tens of thousands of dollars while attending a meeting in Dublin, 180 miles away?

            Fucking ridiculous, and you just kiss his ass.

      2. You DID know that the Secret Service is required, by law, to pay for property they use?

        That they’ve been paying rent to guard Bush, Clinton, and Obama for decades? Paying it directly to those Presidents, even when they became former Presidents? And that this rent gets paid even when the principal is not present? Reagan’s security paid to guard an empty house he was trying to sell, FFS.

        If the Secret Service is only paying for Trump Hotel spaces 1/3 of the time, that’s a dramatic improvement over previous Presidents. More likely, they’re using a space all the time, even when he isn’t there – just like the previous Presidents.

        1. Don’t be blind. If you like Trump’s politics, I get it. But they have spent more on Trump in just 4 years than guarding all those other Presidents combined. He is totally milking it. Read his book Art of the Deal. You don’t make money building, you make money renting equipment to build the building. He is all about getting his cut.

          1. ” But they have spent more on Trump in just 4 years than guarding all those other Presidents combined. ”

            Are you sure about that?

            1. Exactly.

              They fail to take into account the expenses from the Obama admin, instead try to misdirect the topic to VP Biden vs. President Trump expenditures.

              1. Sigh. You can’t get anything right, can you? The issue is not “expenses.” The issue is self-dealing. The Secret Service was paying rent to the Bidens, the same way they’re paying rent to Trump. That’s why the comparison is being made.

        2. If the Secret Service is only paying for Trump Hotel spaces 1/3 of the time, that’s a dramatic improvement over previous Presidents. More likely, they’re using a space all the time, even when he isn’t there – just like the previous Presidents.

          Which is why they are hiding the expense until after the election.

          Because they are being so frugal. Yeah. Right.

          The government spent about $96 million on travel by Obama over eight years, according to documents obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch. A report by the Government Accountability Office, which serves as the congressional watchdog on federal spending, estimated that Trump’s travel cost $13.6 million in just one month in early 2017. That total included the costs of travel for Secret Service and Defense Department personnel, and the costs of renting space and operating equipment such as boats and planes. If spending continued at that pace, Trump would have exceeded Obama’s total expenses before the end of his first year in office.

          1. Trying to hide? You mean releasing the annual expense reports the Secret Service releases every year? “Hiding” like that?

            Incidentally, when WashPo, Snopes, and Politifact ALL rate your claims about Trump’s expenses as false, you KNOW you’re barking up the wrong tree. Including the false report you just cited.

            And nowhere did I say anything about “frugal”. Stop making up shit – I in fact explicitly pointed out that your 1/3 of the time claim was probably false and that it would be 100% of the time.

            1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mnuchin-seeks-delay-of-proposed-disclosure-of-secret-service-spending-on-presidential-travel-until-next-year/2020/01/08/8769ea28-30da-11ea-91fd-82d4e04a3fac_story.html

              That’s the source of his quote. A source which you claim rated his statement as false.

              If you want to know why Trumpers are detested by society, it’s because you’re all goddamn liars, and ignorant enough to think the rest of us will believe your bullshit. You deliberately abuse your rights in an effort to make society worse through the devaluation of truth and decency.

            2. Toranth,

              I’ve got a comment in moderation, because I put in two links – PITA – that pretty much refutes everything you say. They are not required to pay – GW Bush let them stay in a guest house on his ranch for free, for example.

              Further, the Secret Service hasn’t been filing those reports.

              Further, since I quoted the WaPo I don’t see where you get the idea that they rated their own story as false. I also cited Snopes to the effect that the Clintons didn’t charge for use of guest quarters at their house.

              So you’re full of it. Either blind or a willing accomplice.

            3. And did you read the Politifact story, or are you just going on the final conclusion, because the story hardly makes your case. (Note that it was written in August, 2017.)

    2. You guys arguing about the President’s travel costs and Trump enriching himself through this are a bunch of idiots. First, do you have any idea how expensive it is for ANY President to travel? Just the aircraft portion of it is 85% percent of the cost – like, $3M for a weekend in airplane costs alone. The hotel costs for the President and his entourage are a vanishingly small portion of the overall expense.

      Second, do you know if Trump is actually making a profit on the use of his hotel rooms by his entourage? How does its presence affect the overall resort revenue? Hurt? Help? I’m sure you don’t know.

      Third, how has his presidency affected his real estate business, overall? I get the impression it’s hurting it, do to Trump-hating people and organizations and business who’ve moved out or refuse to patronize, or both.

      Idiots. If Trump wanted to get richer by being president, he wouldn’t be doing it by renting out hotel rooms. He’d do it the way Obama, and both Clintons, and Biden, and the Bush’s, and many other corrupt presidents and other office holders have done it, by peddling access and leveraging power.

      Finally, congress has all of this time to take Trump to court over $650 a night hotel rooms, and with Hunter Biden getting $83,000 per month for doing nothing, there’s “nothing to see here.”

      1. ” I get the impression it’s hurting it, do to Trump-hating people….”

        s/do/due

        Wish there was an edit feature.

      2. Um, the $83K (it keeps going up, somehow) isn’t being paid by American taxpayers, you Trumpist moron.

        1. Bernard, whether $83G’s, or $50G’s, or whatever it really is – it’s a bribe. Have you ever studied bribery law, or taken an ethics course, perhaps as part of your employment? A payment or a gift, or anything of value given to you or to a family member, in return for access or influence or any other purpose, stated or otherwise, is a bribe. In this case it’s strikingly obvious that this was the case with the Bidens and Burisma.

          Yet – no one investigated, no one cared. It was widely know, and congress did nothing. It was clear cut. But for Trump’s supposed acceptance of an emolument by foreign heads of state staying at his hotels – which it is not – we have a raft of lawsuits. Clearly designed to harass and harangue POTUS, and for no other reason. The Blumenthal suit even cites the wrong emoluments clause!

          1. Nothing was done because investigations are based on facts and reasonable suspicion that a crime took place.

            Not what a Trumper claims is “strikingly obvious.”

            1. There are facts: no Biden has denied that Hunter received these payments. There is an abundance of suspicion that a crime – bribery – has taken place.

              Do you really think there’s “nothing to see here” regarding the Bidens and Burisma? Wow. What about his China dealings?

              Is there no corruption in government, except for Trump?

              Have you read Profiles in Corruption?

              1. There is an abundance of suspicion that a crime – bribery – has taken place.

                Then why did the GOP-led House not investigate it at any point over the January 2015 – January 2019 time period? Why did the GOP-led Senate not investigate it any point over the January 2015 – present time period? Why did a DOJ led by Jeff Sessions or Bill Barr, or an FBI led by Jim Comey or Christopher Wray, or any U.S. attorney appointed by Trump, not investigate it any point over the January 2017 – present time period?

                1. I don’t know, David, you’ll have to ask them. But the fact that no one has gone after him for it – yet – does not mean that a crime was not committed.

                  We may also be running into statute of limitations issues, depending on how one views when a bribe has occurred, and whether it continues to occur as long as money is paid.

                  1. I don’t know, David, you’ll have to ask them. But the fact that no one has gone after him for it – yet – does not mean that a crime was not committed.

                    Of course it doesn’t. But it very very very strongly suggests that there was no suspicion that a crime was committed, which is the topic I was addressing.

          2. Have you ever studied bribery law,

            ThePublius has read several things on twitter.

            1. David, I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve taken several courses over many years regarding bribery in business – mandator ethics training.

              I can tell you form that quite simply, that a corporation paying someone large sums of money on a regular basis, where that person is the son of the Vice President of the US, with the collateral responsibility of managing policy towards that company’s country, looks like a bribe – payments for influence. That the money wasn’t paid to Joe doesn’t matter, the fact that it was paid to his son makes it a bribe.

              I’m open to any other reasons you might offer that Hunter was paid, and why this isn’t to be viewed as bribery.

          3. it’s a bribe

            Really?

            What was the bribe for?

            And don’t tell me it was for getting Shokin fired. That’s ridiculous, no matter how many times Sean Hannity or some other loon repeats it. It doesn’t pass the laugh test.

            But you believe it, because your lips are glued to Trump’s ass.

            1. A payment for influence; generally favorable treatment for the company from the US. For the US to look the other way regarding the company’s business.

              “Bribery is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official, or other person, in charge of a public or legal duty.”

              ““Anything of value” is interpreted broadly and can include the payment of money, the provision of gifts and entertainment (such as drinks, meals, and event tickets), travel, jobs, or internships for family members, or even charitable contributions made at the direction of a foreign official.”

              “influence the actions of an official, or other person, in charge of a public or legal duty…” “…payment of money…” “…jobs…for family members….”

              Got it?

      3. do you know if Trump is actually making a profit on the use of his hotel rooms by his entourage? How does its presence affect the overall resort revenue? Hurt? Help? I’m sure you don’t know.

        But Trump does know. And surely if it hurt his business he would find someplace else to stay. So unless he’s an even bigger fool than I think, it’s certainly not hurting.

        Of course the Trumpkins are lying about how much they charge, also.

        1. Many presidents have used their own resources in the course of their official duties. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump did as well.

      4. Just the aircraft portion of it is 85% percent of the cost – like, $3M for a weekend in airplane costs alone. The hotel costs for the President and his entourage are a vanishingly small portion of the overall expense.

        Taking that as true, it creates an inference that in order to increase his self-dealing take on hotel revenue, Trump multiplies his much-larger paid-by-the-public aircraft expenses, by taking more trips. Not a good defense. At the very least, Congress ought to put Trump on a travel budget, retroactive to inauguration day.

        The nation generously provides the chief executive a sumptuous and well-guarded residence, right at the seat of power. Trump’s costly disdain for using what the public provides ought to be judged for the extravagance it is.

        1. 1. it is true;
          2. his trips are not “much larger” than other presidents;
          3. a really foolish argument, that he’s taking more trips in order to “increase his take.”

      5. Just like their comment about the usage of the Irish hotel that charges US government rates that are much lower than surrounding hotel rates. IIRC that particular hotel was charging $120 vs. the $180 of comparable hotels that are available.

        Not to mention that Trump has been charging US government lower rates at his hotels for decades prior to becoming President.

        1. IIRC that particular hotel was charging $120 vs. the $180 of comparable hotels that are available.

          Care to show proof of that? The bill was in the tens of thousands of dollars.

          Plus there were all those helicopter rides back and forth to Dublin. I guess there’s not a hotel in Dublin suitable for Pence.

          You just swallow all the crap they spew.

    3. An emolument is a payment derived from ones office, paying Trump for hotel rooms is not profit derived from his office, but from his hotels.

      No, it’s profit derived from his office, laundered through his hotels.

      1. Does it hurt being that ignorant David?

        Seriously, Trump has charged lower rates, especially for US government, for decades.

        1. Seriously, Trump has charged lower rates, especially for US government, for decades.

          I assume that’s as accurate as the other things you write.

  6. If you’re going to end with Story’s quote, you have to conclude, as Story did, that the Emoluments Clause has no meaning, purpose or substance and might as well be erased.

  7. People who don’t like Trump and want him removed from office, including Prof. Adler, will stop at nothing to try to remove or harass him. The entire premise of Trump’s business leading to an emoluments violation are nonsense. Never-Trumpers, the deep state, and all of the professional politicians don’t know how to deal with someone who made his money in ways other than leveraging their political power, like Hillary, Obama, Biden, et. al.

    1. Every constitutional scholar who has looked at the emolument question disagrees with you, except for two of them. On the other hand, you did state your opinion with firm conviction as if it were a fact, so I guess it must be true.

      1. “Every constitutional scholar who has looked at the emolument question disagrees with you.”

        That’s bullshit. But I will consider it if you’ll send me the list of those scholars.

        1. I’d be happy to, post your name and address.

    2. Yes, Trump made money by inheriting it, and then leveraging political power. Plus not paying his bills.

  8. Pretty soon they’re going to have to redefine the acronym “SLAPP” to mean Strategic Lawsuit Against Presidential Participation.

    1. Yup, just like they redefined the acronym NAACP to mean National Association for the Advancement of Colored Progressives.

  9. As the article notes the lawsuit was dismissed on standing ground and does not mean that President Trump is vindicated. I would hope we could all agree that regardless of whether he violated the emoluments clause in the letter President Trump has violated it in spirit.
    I would also suggest that lawsuits are a waste of time. What is needed is for Congress to enact some standards for Presidential divestment. It would be unfair to President Trump at this point to require divestment but the Congress could set rules to be enacted in 2024. This way candidates would know what is expected of them when they assume the office of the President.
    Regarding Presidential leisure, the country has a right to set limits on the amount of money. The amount will no doubt need to be substantial. That said it does not need to be open ended. I suggest we look at the annual amount spent by Presidents for last 50 years, adjust for inflation, drop the five highest and five lowest year, average the remaining 40 years and tell the President that’s the amount he can use for personal leisure (vacation, entertainment, and weekends). If the President wants more let him petition Congress.

    1. “I would hope we could all agree that regardless of whether he violated the emoluments clause in the letter President Trump has violated it in spirit.”

      I don’t think we can all agree on that. I certainly don’t.

      What you are suggesting is that the President take a vow of poverty. This will only ensure that only professional politicians will be able to seek office. No good. And, probably not constitutional.

      1. Vow of poverty.

      2. The constitution requires that the president be paid a salary precisely to avoid that problem, and further prohibits congress from reducing that salary to avoid that particular for of leverage. That salary is currently set at $400,000 a year with generous benefits, which I hardly call a vow of poverty.

        1. I was making an analogy – some seem to only be happy with a business man becoming president divesting himself of his businesses. I don’t think that’s right.

          1. Do you think it’s right for the President to direct government business to his own companies?

            Because that’s exactly what Trump is doing. Lots of hotels in the world, including many very nice ones.

      3. I am certainly note suggesting a vow of poverty. Presidents in the past have dealt with putting their wealth in a blind trust or treasury bonds. The point here to remove the appearance of a conflict of interest or appearance of making money off the government.

        I am also sure that many would say that Trump has no conflict of interest. What I find funny is that many of those same people would conclude that VP Biden does have a conflict.

        1. “Presidents in the past have dealt with putting their wealth in a blind trust or treasury bonds.”

          Without knowing, I would bet that the fraction of presidents who have done that are a minority.

          I don’t think it’s a conflict, per se, for a president to own hotels and resorts. I also think it’s glaringly obvious that Biden is guilty of accepting bribes.

          1. “Without knowing, I would bet that the fraction of presidents who have done that are a minority. ”

            Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush use trusts. Obama put his money into T bills. I am not saying Trump should be required to do this. I am saying future Presidents should be required.

            1. Would this also apply to Congress?

              How would this apply to a President or Congressional member, who’s spouse or other family member has large business interests not just investments?

              Therein lies the issue. Trump has turned over control of his businesses to family members yet that isn’t good enough yet many members of Congress (Pelosi, Feinstein, et.al.) have the same situation and it is OK.

              1. Therein lies the issue. Trump has turned over control of his businesses to family members yet that isn’t good enough

                It’s not anything, so of course it isn’t good “enough.” It’s worthless.

                yet many members of Congress (Pelosi, Feinstein, et.al.) have the same situation and it is OK.

                Members of Congress have very little ability to personally and individually direct spending. I mean, they can hire relatives for their staffs, I guess, but they can’t just decide that the Secret Service will pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  10. “that does not mean there are not serious substantive concerns.”

    Prof. Adler, what, exactly, are these substantive concerns?

  11. By the way, in case anyone is interested, Prof. Adler is a co-founder of a group named Checks and Balances, which counts as its members George T. Conway, III – yes, that George Conway, who runs an anti-Trump super-pac.

    “Adler…joined the group in releasing a statement that declared Trump’s requests for China and the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden amount to “a legitimate basis for an expeditious impeachment investigation, vote in the House of Representatives and potential trial in the Senate.”

    “We believe the acts revealed publicly over the past several weeks are fundamentally incompatible with the president’s oath of office, his duties as commander in chief, and his constitutional obligation to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’” said the statement.

    From: https://www.cleveland.com/open/2019/10/conservative-case-western-reserve-jurist-jonathan-adler-publicly-calls-for-trump-impeachment-inquiry.html

    So, he is hardly neutral in pursuing an understanding of whether Trump violated the emoluments clause, or whether he should be impeached for any number of reasons. He’s a never-Trumper, a Trump hater, and his posts should be viewed through that lens.

    1. Whereas your comments should be viewed through a lens of total neutrality on the subject of Trump? At least Prof. Adler puts his name to his opinions. What groups are you a member of? Who do you associate with? Are you now or have you ever been…?

      1. I am not posting on a law blog purporting to provide a dispassionate analysis of the law while harboring an extreme bias against the subject of that analysis.

        1. “The DOJ is prosecuting an accused terrorist, but the Attorney General is on record as hating Al Qaeda, so their prosecution should be discounted.”

        2. Where did you get the idea that this law blog, or any law blog, purported to provide a dispassionate analysis of the law?

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