Leah Litman

  • December 22, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Leah Litman, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law and Daniel Hemel, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School. 

    *This piece was originally posted on Take Care

    “Congress is not a potted plant.” So says Judge George Daniels of the federal district court for the Southern District of New York in a decision dismissing a lawsuit against Donald Trump for violating the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses. We agree with that—for one thing, potted plants are much easier to move. But Congress’s status as something other than a potted plant provides little support for the district court’s conclusion that the plaintiffs in CREW v. Trump lack standing to sue the President.

  • June 13, 2017
    Guest Post

    *This piece originally appeared on Take Care.

    by Leah Litman, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law

    On Monday, the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump. The suit alleges that the president is in violation of the Emoluments Clauses. (The “Emoluments Clauses” include the Foreign Emoluments Clause, which prevents office holders from accepting emoluments from foreign states or foreign officials without Congress’s consent, and the Domestic Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from receiving any emolument other than his salary for being president.)

    Maryland and D.C.’s suit is an intriguing development for many reasons. I will just focus on one here: Maryland and D.C.’s case introduces a new theory of standing into the emoluments litigation and given DOJ’s less than rousing defense of the legality of the president’s financial arrangements in another emoluments lawsuit, Maryland and D.C.’s suit should concern the president and his lawyers. 

    The New Theory of Standing. The emoluments suits filed to date have been brought by private parties—private organizations and private individuals arguing that they have been harmed, in their private capacities, by the president’s violations of the Emoluments Clauses. The private businesses (and individuals) argue that they are losing out on business to the president’s hotels and restaurants because of foreign and state officials’ desire to curry favor with the president by giving money to his hotels and restaurants, in which he continues to hold a financial stake. I have written some about this theory of standing before on this site.