Donald Trump announced this afternoon that he had “won” the ongoing legal battle over whether his political profiteering is an enforceable violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. The catch: there was a court ruling that went in Trump’s favor, but it didn’t involve the main Emoluments Clause battle against him.
Trump did score a victory today when the Appeals Court tossed the Emoluments Clause case that had been brought by Maryland and Washington DC. But that suit was aimed at specifically proving that Trump’s violations were harming competing businesses in Maryland and DC, and the court simply ruled that there was no way to prove this was the case. The thing is, this is not the big Emoluments Clause legal battle that you keep hearing about.
The main Emoluments Clause case is coming from Democrats in Congress. Because Congress has far greater oversight over the presidency than any state would, this case has always been the one with the best chance of taking Trump down. Today’s ruling, on the other Emoluments Clause battle, isn’t going to do anything to impede the main one being carried about by Congress.
It’s not clear if Donald Trump is claiming a false victory on purpose, or if he honestly doesn’t know that this wasn’t the main Emoluments Clause case against him. In any case, while he’s busy declaring that he’s defeated the “Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt,” back in the real world the main Emoluments Clause case keeps winning every court ruling that comes down.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report