Pass the Popcorn

I have been arguing for 9 years that there is an anti-corruption principle embedded in the Constitution. Today, Judge Peter J. Messitte adopted that principle writing “As Professor Teachout has noted, ‘corruption, in the American tradition, does not just include blatant bribes..”

— Zephyr Teachout (@ZephyrTeachout) July 25, 2018

This is a happy constitutional scholar

A judge has ruled that the emoluments lawsuit against Donald Trump can proceed:

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected President Trump’s latest effort to stop a lawsuit that alleges Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign governments.

The ruling, from U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Md., will allow the plaintiffs — the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia — to proceed with their case, which says Trump has violated little-used anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution known as emoluments clauses.

This ruling appeared to mark the first time a federal judge had interpreted those constitutional provisions and applied their restrictions to a sitting president.

If the ruling stands, it could bring unprecedented scrutiny to Trump’s businesses — which have sought to keep their transactions with foreign states private, even as their owner sits in the Oval Office.

Messitte’s 52-page opinion said that, in the modern context, the Constitution’s ban on emoluments could apply to Trump — and that it could cover any business transactions with foreign governments where Trump derived a “profit, gain or advantage.”

“This includes profits from private transactions, even those involving services given at fair market value,” Messitte wrote.

I am intensely amused by this, though I am not as over the moon about this as Zephyr Teachout,who has maintained that anti-corruption is actually a prominent foundation of the US Constitution.

It will be fun to watch Donald Trump squirm over this.

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