The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency, saying the cases are moot now that Trump is no longer in office.
These cases stemmed from the "emoluments clause" of the US Constitution, which prohibits public officials from receiving gifts, payments or titles from foreign states without permission from Congress.
In the emoluments cases, which alleged that President Trump violated a constitutional provision banning the receipt of profits from foreign government officials, the courts handled the matters at a glacial pace. A third case was brought by more than a hundred Democratic members of Congress but was quickly rejected by the Supreme Court past year.
"The Supreme Court's procedural order not only wipes away two lower court rulings, but it also orders dismissal of the entire dispute - leaving for some other time resolution of the many questions Trump's conduct raised about the Emoluments Clause", said Steve Vladeck, a CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
The filings argued that Trump was in violation of the clause by receiving money when guests - often foreign dignitaries and their sizable entourages - stayed at one of his branded hotels in the nation's capital, instead of in other locations, with similar complaints made in a second lawsuit that shed light on dealings involving Trump hotel and restaurant properties in NY state.
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"We are proud that because of our case, a court ruled on the meaning of "emoluments" for the first time in American history, finding that the Constitution prohibits federal officials from accepting nearly anything of value from foreign or domestic governments", the statement reads.
A 2020 decision by the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the similar lawsuit by the District of Columbia and Maryland to proceed.
President Donald Trump in August 2019.
The emoluments issue stretched throughout most of Trump's presidency, and would've established a legal precedent for a part of the Constitution that hadn't really been challenged in the past.
The high court's action was the first in an expected steady stream of orders and rulings on pending lawsuits involving Trump now that his presidency has ended.