President Donald Trump must face a lawsuit accusing him of illegally profiting from his Washington hotel, a federal appeals court ruled, reviving a case that was dismissed a year ago.
The lawsuit was originally brought by the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland, which argued that the president violated the emoluments clause when his Washington, D.C. hotel accepted the business of foreign and state governments.
A lower district court judge in Maryland had previously ruled against Trump, whose attorneys argue the president can not be sued without express approval from Congress.
A federal appeals court today ruled against President Donald Trump in a lawsuit alleging that he's violated the Constitution's emoluments clauses. An initial three-judge panel of the same court had tossed the lawsuit and said the attorneys general did not have legal grounds, or standing, to sue. That court, however, later agreed to grant an "en banc" hearing - and ultimately decided in a rare full-court ruling Thursday to reverse the dismissal and allow the suit to move forward.
"We recognize that the President is no ordinary petitioner, and we accord him great deference as the head of the Executive branch".
In a dissenting opinion, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson said the decision would open the door for litigation simply meant to harass a sitting president. They also insisted that the emoluments clause only bars compensation made in connection with services provided in his official capacity or in "an employment-type relationship" with a foreign or domestic government.
"This confirms our fundamental assertion in this case - that the emoluments clause is our nation's original anti-corruption law and President Trump is not above the law", Frosh said of Thursday's ruling.
The emoluments case centers on the president's hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in northwest Washington, where foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, have booked rooms and events since Trump entered the White House.
Unlike past presidents, Trump has retained ownership of his private business and can benefit from it financially.
Now, Trump's lawyers will have to go to the US Supreme Court to seek an appeal of Thursday's decision, but there is no guarantee the high court will hear the case.
CBS News has asked the D.C. attorney general and the Justice Department for comment.
In October, Trump's company said it is exploring the sale of the hotel after almost three years of complaints alleging he is profiting off the presidency.
"I$3 n the United States, every person - even the President - has a duty to obey the law", wrote Motz. Trump's downtown Washington hotel, which occupies a building leased from the federal government, has been at the epicenter of the ethics disputes around the president. It just found that the 29 senators and 186 members of the House of Representatives involved in the lawsuit "do not constitute a majority of either body" of Congress and therefore didn't have the power to bring the lawsuit.