Amicus Curiae Brief of Federal Jurisdiction and Constitutional Law Scholars - Blumenthal v. Trump
42 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2017 Last revised: 12 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 6, 2017
Plaintiffs — 30 members of the United States Senate and 171 members of the United States House of Representatives — bring claims arising directly under the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which states that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Plaintiffs allege that Defendant has accepted benefits from foreign governments that qualify as “Emolument[s]” without first seeking and obtaining “the Consent of the Congress,” as the Constitution requires. They therefore allege that the Defendant has injured them by eliminating their constitutional power to vote on whether to grant consent to proposed emoluments before those emoluments are accepted. This brief, on behalf of 16 scholars of federal jurisdiction, Article III standing, and constitutional law as amici curiae, argues that Plaintiffs’ claims fall squarely within the Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit’s case law recognizing that legislators have standing to sue when they have been denied an opportunity to cast a specific vote to which the Constitution entitles them. The brief also explains why — unlike the Plaintiffs in Raines v. Byrd and other cases in which legislative standing has been denied — there are no available legislative means to redress the Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries.
Keywords: Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses, corruption, President Trump, constitutional law, benefits, standing, procedure, injury-in-fact, executive branch, president, ethics
JEL Classification: K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation