A federal court judge on Wednesday ruled that President Donald Trump can challenge congressional Democrats’ Emoluments Clause lawsuit against him right away, saying the litigation raises the “unsettled” question of whether politicians have standing to sue a sitting president for running international businesses, Fox News informed.
The event was a tremendous victory for Trump, who has stood against what he has called politically motivated invocations of the Emoluments Clause.
The judge on this case, Emmet Sullivan, had ruled this summer that the 200 congressional Democrats did have the legal standing to sue Trump. But the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals returned the case to Sullivan and gave him instructions to reconsider the unprecedented separations-of-powers implications of the case.
“The question of whether the Foreign Emoluments Clause, U.S. CONST. Art. I, § 9, cl. 8, or other authority gives rise to a cause of action against the President is unsettled, and the standing question arises at the intersection of precedent,” the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said.
“In addition, because either of those issues could be dispositive of this case, it appears to this court that the district court abused its discretion by concluding that an immediate appeal would not advance the ultimate termination of the litigation just because discovery and summary judgment briefing could proceed expeditiously,” the appellate court went on.
The judge, who was first appointed by Ronald Reagan, rejected the Democrats’ request to pursue discovery, including financial documents, from dozens of Trump’s businesses.
Democrats requested an immdiate injunction banning Trump from making money on his international businesses, noting that the Trump Organization has already established a “voluntary procedure by which [it] identifies and donates to the U.S. Treasury profits from foreign government patronage at its hotels and similar businesses.”
Instead, Sullivan allowed Trump the rare opportunity to pursue a so-called interlocutory, or mid-case, appeal given the “substantial ground for difference of opinion” on whether the Democrats can even sue the President on Emoluments Clause grounds.
Until the appellate courts resolve the larger legal question at issue, Sullivan halted all discovery in the district court case.
“The Court will also stay proceedings in this case pending the interlocutory appeal,” Sullivan said.