Constitutional Crisis: Trump’s ‘Emoluments’ Defense Argues He Can Violate the Constitution With Impunity.
When the president of the United States violates the Constitution there must be a way for a federal court to hear the case and provide a remedy. Three different lawsuits have been filed against President Trump claiming that he is violating the emoluments clauses of the Constitution by receiving unlawful payments or other benefits from foreign governments and from the United States.
Trump’s position is that the federal courts can hear none of these suits because no one has “standing” to sue him for these constitutional violations. But that can’t be right: It cannot be that the president can violate the Constitution with impunity and no court has the authority to hold him accountable.
Article I, Section IX of the Constitution prevents any person holding a federal office from receiving a “present” or “emolument … of any kind whatever” from a foreign state. This was meant to limit foreign influence in the U.S. by broadly forbidding elected or appointed officials from being obligated to another government.
It cannot be that the president can violate the Constitution with impunity and no court has the authority to hold him accountable.