Rule of Law

RELEASE: Judge Clears Path for Blumenthal, Nadler & Nearly 200 Members of Congress to Hold President Trump Accountable to Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause

Ruling allows Members to argue President should be accountable for full range of foreign government benefits he accepts without consent of Congress

In a historic decision today, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in the District of Columbia ruled in favor of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and nearly 200 Members of Congress who are seeking to hold President Donald Trump accountable to the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause.

Judge Sullivan held that Members have standing to sue President Trump because he has deprived each of the plaintiffs of their right, explicitly guaranteed in the text of the Foreign Emoluments Clause, to vote on whether the President may accept foreign government benefits before he accepts them.  Today’s ruling makes it possible to hold President Trump accountable for the full range of his Foreign Emoluments Clause violations—not only those connected with the Trump Hotel in D.C., but also those connected with Trump properties and business ventures elsewhere in the country and abroad.

Lead plaintiffs Blumenthal and Nadler issued their reaction, followed by Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra:

“Today’s ruling is a triumph for the rule of law, affirming that Congress can hold President Trump accountable for violations of the U.S. Constitution. Members of Congress have a right and a responsibility to prevent the president from corrupting his office – and President Trump is preventing us from doing our job,” said Blumenthal and Nadler.  “Thanks to this thoughtful and well-reasoned decision by Judge Sullivan, we are moving forward in our effort to protect the American people from foreign corruption and ensure that President Trump is minding the people’s business, not his own. We now prepare to make our case to Judge Sullivan on the merits: No President is above the law.”

“We are gratified that Judge Sullivan ruled in our favor,” said CAC President Elizabeth Wydra, who appeared before Judge Sullivan at oral argument with CAC Chief Counsel Brianne Gorod. “In a compelling opinion, Judge Sullivan made clear why Members of Congress have been injured by the President’s actions and have standing to sue.”