WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up a case from 200 congressional Democrats alleging that President Trump is improperly profiting from his position.
The suit brought by Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut argued that the commander-in-chief violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause through his continued ownership of companies engaged in business with foreign governments.
The ill-fated suit argued this amounted to “unauthorized financial benefits from foreign states.”
The clause bars the president or any other federal official from taking gifts or payments from foreign governments without the approval of Congress as a measure to prevent corruption.
Lawmakers asked the Supreme Court to review a February ruling by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals that threw out the legal challenge, arguing the Democratic lawmakers lacked the legal right to sue the president.
“The Members can, and likely will, continue to use their weighty voices to make their case to the American people, their colleagues in the Congress and the President himself, all of whom are free to engage that argument as they see fit,” the judges wrote in their ruling.
“But we will not — indeed we cannot — participate in this debate,” they added, and vacated the claim as “moot.”
Blumenthal v. Trump has been tied up in the courts since it was first filed in July 2017 by 29 senators and 186 representatives. Many supporters of the president saw the case as a partisan fishing expedition by lawmakers fueled by their distaste for Trump.
The Supreme Court did not give a reason for refusing to take up the case Tuesday, but the denial means that Democratic lawmakers failed to get support from at least four of the bench’s nine justices.
On Monday, Trump took a swing at Blumenthal on Twitter during the Senate confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett — targeting the Connecticut Democrat’s false comments about serving in Vietnam.
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