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Volokh Conspiracy

Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Blumenthal v. Trump

Petitions for certiorari in the other two Emoluments Clause cases remain pending.


Today the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Blumenthal v. Trump, one of three cases concerning President Trump's alleged violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause pending before the Court.

In Blumenthal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concluded in a brief per curiam opinion that members of Congress lack standing to sue President Trump over his alleged receipt of foreign emoluments. As I noted here, this was an easy call under existing precedent.

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 Court took no action on the other two pending Emoluments Clause cases (from the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Second Circuits). This is no surprise, as the briefs in opposition to the Justice Department's cert petitions are not yet due. One consequence is that these cases could be rendered moot, depending on the outcome of the election.