D.C. and Maryland v. Trump
This article needs to be updated.May 2020)(
D.C. and Maryland v. Trump is a lawsuit filed on June 12, 2017, in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs, the U.S. state of Maryland and the District of Columbia, allege that the defendant, President Donald Trump, has violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution by accepting gifts from foreign governments. The lawsuit was filed by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.
|D.C. and Maryland v. Trump|
|United States District Court for the District of Maryland|
|Date decided||Pending (filed June 12, 2017)|
|Judge sitting||Peter Jo Messitte|
|Counsel for plaintiff(s)||Natalie O Ludaway|
Steven M Sullivan
|Plaintiff(s)||The District of Columbia|
The State of Maryland
The suit alleges that Trump has committed "unprecedented constitutional violations" by not disentangling his business interests from his presidential responsibilities. The attorneys general cited the Trump International Hotel's effect on business in the Washington D.C. area as one reason for filing the lawsuit. The suit seeks an injunction to stop Trump from violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The attorneys general stated they will seek Trump's tax returns as part of their case.
A three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case in July 2019, ruling that the attorneys general lacked legal standing to sue. All three of the judges were appointed by Republican presidents. New arguments in an en banc rehearing of the appeal were heard on December 12, 2019.
On May 14, 2020, the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the defense's attempt to have the case dismissed on the grounds of presidential immunity by a 9-to-6 majority, reviving the lawsuit.
The Maryland filing follows a lawsuit filed in January 2017 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, CREW v. Trump, which also alleged that Trump has violated the emoluments clause. The D.C. and Maryland lawsuit is the first time a government entity has sued a president for violating the clause.
In response to the lawsuit on the day of the filing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that the president was not in violation of the emoluments cause, and would "move to dismiss this case", which Spicer characterized as "partisan politics". Spicer noted that both attorneys general filing the suit are Democrats. Republican National Committee spokesperson Lindsay Jancek also stated that President Trump was in compliance with the law, and called the lawsuit "absurd".
Although the complaint was served to President Trump on June 27, 2017, the parties agreed on an extension to accommodate the work load and a vacation for a DOJ lawyer, so the first formal response was not required prior to September 29, 2017.
On July 25, 2018, Federal District Judge Peter Messitte allowed the case to proceed; denying the Justice Department's attempt to have the case dismissed. The Justice Department had argued that the clause is not relevant to Trump's businesses. On November 2, Judge Messitte ordered discovery to begin. On December 3, Maryland and the District of Columbia issued subpoenas for Trump's financial records related to his D.C. hotel. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay days later at the behest of the Justice Department, pending hearings in March 2019. This prevented the subpoena of documents until the Court of Appeals rules if the case can go forward.
In December 2018, Maryland prosecutors subpoenaed financial documents of Trump Organization’s golf resorts in Scotland.
At a hearing on March 18, 2019, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was sharply skeptical of the legal basis of the suit, and dismissed the case on July 10, 2019. Arguments to reinstate the case were held before an en banc panel on December 12, 2019. The parallel CREW v. Trump case, in a different judicial circuit, was reinstated in September 2019 with the New York appellate panel rejecting the reasoning of the July opinion in this case.
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- Affidavit of Service for Complaint and Summons served on Defendant, Civil Process Clerk, United States Attorney General on June 27, 2017, Docket 12, No. 8:17-cv-01596, D.M.D., July 5, 2017
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The Second Circuit’s opinion then goes into a point-by-point take down of the Fourth Circuit opinion.