SCOTUS Dismisses Cases Alleging Trump Violated Constiution’s Emoluments Clause

The Supreme Court of the United States has dismissed cases alleging former President Donald Trump violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause and profited off the presidency during his time in office.

The emoluments clauses is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution that states “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

The Supreme Court issued its ruling without comment or dissent and instructed the lower courts to toss out a previous opinion, one that allowed the emoluments lawsuit to proceed, because Trump is no longer in office and are now moot.

Lawsuits had accused Trump of violating the Constitution’s anti-corruption provisions because he had never formally divested himself from his financial empire during his tenure. Trump’s refusal to divest himself and place his assets in a blind trust created a slew of potential conflicts of interest, accusations that he’d broken the law, and further criticism that his business decisions had influenced policymaking.

“The Supreme Court’s procedural order not only wipes away two lower court rulings, but it also orders dismissal of the entire dispute — leaving for some other time resolution of the many questions Trump’s conduct raised about the Emoluments Clause,” said Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law who provides Supreme Court analysis for CNN. 

“Ordinarily, the Court pursues such a step only when the prevailing party moots a case while the appeal is pending — as opposed to here, where the disputes became moot because Trump’s term ended,” he added. “Today’s orders suggest that the court is increasingly willing to invoke this doctrine to avoid highly charged political disputes, even if the mootness wasn’t caused by the parties that won below.”