Congressional Standing to Challenge Foreign Emoluments

Judge Emmet C. Sullivan of the U.S.D.C. for the District of Columbia has issued an opinion that Democratic members of Congress have standing to obtain a judicial determination that President Trump has violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause.  The opinion is here.  The opinion summarizes the issues as follows:

Plaintiffs, approximately 201 minority Members of the 535 Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, allege that Donald J. Trump in his official capacity as President of the United States (“the President”) is violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause (“Clause”). Under this Clause, certain federal officials, including the President, may not “accept” an “emolument” from “any King, Prince or foreign State” without “the Consent of Congress.” U.S Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 8. In Count I, plaintiffs seek declaratory relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201 in the form of a declaratory judgment stating that the President is violating the Clause when he accepts emoluments from foreign states without first seeking the consent of Congress. Am. Compl., ECF No. 14 ¶¶ 85-86. In Count II, plaintiffs seek injunctive relief pursuant to the Court’s inherent authority to grant equitable relief and pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1331 in the form of a Court order enjoining the President from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever” from a foreign state without obtaining “the Consent of Congress.” Id. ¶ 92.

Looking at this opinion and many of the others that I have posted, you get an idea of what’s at stake in the Kavanaugh nomination fight.  To be as blunt (and, perhaps, as apocalyptic) as possible, the confirmation of Kavanaugh would be a disaster of historic proportions.  It is not just about the survival of Roe v. Wade, although, of course, it is about that. Rather, Kavanaugh and the “hard right” block that is already on the Court will threaten the entire fabric of Constitutional protections developed in the last century.