This morning I published an op-ed in The Guardian discussing Emoluments Clause lawsuits filed by CREW, DC & Maryland, and 196 Members of Congress. I touch on both standing and merits issues, and set the cases in a broader framework.
Here's an excerpt from the introduction:
When President Donald Trump announced his Muslim Ban on January 27, pandemonium erupted. Lawyers everywhere raced to airports. Galvanized by Trump’s threat to liberty, they rapidly assembled legal theories and commenced a still-unbroken siege of Trump’s bigoted policy. As attorneys stockpiled caffeine, the American people rallied by moonlight outside terminals and federal courts.
The legal response to Trump’s Emoluments Clause violations has taken shape more slowly. And understandably so. Until recently, most Americans had never heard of “emoluments.” Only in the past few months – aided by creative public artand a high-profile lawsuit – has the public come to appreciate that Trump’s conflicts are forbidden by the Constitution.
It’s no coincidence that this arcane issue has newfound salience. We’re now witnessing kleptocracy on an unprecedented scale in America. And there’s barely even a fig leaf of cover. Trump has openly enmeshed his private financial interests in national policy. To say that this creates an appearance of corruption would be far too polite. This is the real deal: sketchy dealings all the way down.
Until recently, a rough bipartisan consensus would have thwarted such open corruption. But it’s now clear that the Republican Party has made a deal with the Devil, trading integrity (their own and the government’s) for a shot at long-held dreams. Surprising nobody, the Devil is already far ahead in this stupid, crooked bargain.
But if recent events are any sign, the public will not stand idly by as Trump turns our nation into a banana republic ...