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Remember 'Emoluments'? You Can Forget Them Again

Supreme Court dismisses 2 cases against Trump, decides it's a moot point
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2021 11:44 AM CST
Supreme Court Ditches Two Trump Cases
President Trump waves as he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – Donald Trump the citizen won't have to worry about two lawsuits filed against Donald Trump the president. The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed two cases brought against him under the Constitution's obscure emoluments clauses, reports the Hill. Justices didn't rule on the merits of the lawsuits, but they said it's pointless to continue now that Trump is out of office. The lawsuits accused Trump of improperly profiting from his family's business empire while he served as president, explains CNBC. Though Trump turned over the day-to-operation of the business to his sons, the lawsuits argued that wasn't good enough. One was brought by the attorney generals of DC and Maryland, and the other by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. A third one brought by Democrats in Congress was dismissed last year.

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Until the Trump presidency, it's a safe bet that few people were even aware the two clauses existed, but no president before Trump had such an extensive business empire. A post at Bloomberg notes that the clauses cover foreign and domestic issues. One "bars a president from accepting benefits from foreign governments without congressional consent, while the other bars receipt of any benefit other than a salary from the US government or a state." An example: When foreign dignitaries stayed at hotels owned by Trump, the president's critics argued that it was illegal for Trump to receive money from that. If the Supreme Court had allowed the cases to move forward, Trump likely would have had to turn over business records. Both sides supported the dismissal of the lawsuits. The move, however, means that the overriding questions will remain unresolved. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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