WASHINGTON, D.C. – District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh issued a joint statement on today’s favorable ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the Emoluments Clause lawsuit brought by the District and Maryland against President Trump. The District and Maryland sued President Trump for violating the Emoluments Clauses, fundamental anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution, by accepting payments from foreign and domestic governments through his hotel in the District. The president attempted to get the case thrown out, including via an unusual, mid-stream appeal to a higher court. The Fourth Circuit’s 9-6 decision ruled against the president’s appeal. The ruling narrowly addressed legal questions about who can appeal and when, and returns the lawsuit to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, where it will continue. AG Racine and AG Frosh’s joint statement is below:
“Today, in a 9-6 decision, the Fourth Circuit ruled that President Trump is subject to the same rules of the legal system as everyone else. This decision is a significant victory for the District of Columbia and Maryland, and a blow to President Trump’s efforts to subvert the trial court process that applies to every litigant.
“The U.S. Constitution and the rule of law are also big winners in today’s important victory. The framers of the Constitution drafted the Emoluments Clauses, our nation’s original anti-corruption protections, to ensure that the president would act with one interest in mind—the public interest. We brought our case to stop President Trump from violating the Constitution and using the presidency for his own personal financial gain.
“We will now move forward in the District Court and renew the discovery process, including gathering other evidence needed to prove that the president has been receiving unconstitutional foreign and domestic emoluments. If the president opts to seek further review before the Supreme Court of the United States, we will be prepared to defend the Fourth Circuit’s en banc panel’s rulings and the principles of law they espouse. We believe that the Constitution will ultimately prevail over President Trump.”
A copy of the court’s decision denying President Trump’s petition for a writ of mandamus is available at: https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/Emoluments-Opinion-Fourth-Circuit-En-Banc-Official-Capacity.pdf
A copy of the court’s decision denying President Trump’s interlocutory appeal related to individual capacity claims is available at: https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/Emoluments-Opinion-Fourth-Circuit-En-Banc-Individual-Capacity.pdf
A recording of the May 14 press call is available at: https://oagdc.box.com/s/pqfvnxoi33oi5jmueqspxlf47x73nwbc
In 2017, AG Racine and AG Frosh sued President Trump to stop him from violating the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution—the nation’s original anti-corruption laws. The Emoluments Clauses prohibit the president from accepting money or benefits from foreign or domestic governments. During his presidency, President Trump has continued to unlawfully accept payments from foreign and domestic governments through the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. He has repeatedly tried and failed to get the District and Maryland’s lawsuit dismissed. More information about the case is available at: https://oag.dc.gov/about-oag/emoluments-lawsuit.