A court reinstated a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clauses.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York, by a 2-1 vote, reinstated the case brought by a restaurant group against the president, and the decision will force Trump to defend his actions and could lead to new revelations about his business and finances, reported Bloomberg.
"We just won our Emoluments Clause appeal against President Trump in the 2d Circuit on behalf of hotels, restaurants, and restaurant workers injured by Trump’s unconstitutional and corrupt acceptance of foreign and domestic business," tweeted Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law professor who helped bring the case to court. "THIS IS HUGE!!!"
We just won our Emoluments Clause appeal against President Trump in the 2d Circuit on behalf of hotels, restaurants… https://t.co/HqdcHCnchA— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe) 1568383870.0
The court didn't rule on the merits of the case but found the plaintiffs had alleged sufficient facts to allow the suit to move forward.
”The complaint sufficiently alleges that plaintiffs compete directly with Trump establishments and that the president’s allegedly illegal acts favor plaintiffs’ competitors,” the appeals court ruled.
A lower-court judge had in December 2017 dismissed the case initially brought by a government-ethics group.
Trump has argued that he turned over management of his business to his children and set up a trust to hold his business assets, but the appeals court found that he still maintained sole ownership and gets regular updates on those businesses.
The president can also draw distributions from the trust at any time, the court found.
The ruling found that the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United had plausibly claimed the president's ownership of hospitality businesses gives his hotels and restaurants an unfair advantage for government patrons who might seek favorable actions from the executive branch he oversees.
The court dismissed Trump's claims that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to bring the suit, and ruled that the issue should be decided by the courts and not Congress.