Do they have standing?

The emoluments case starts tomorrow.

On Wednesday morning, a federal judge in Manhattan will hear preliminary arguments in a case that claims President Trump is violating the Constitution’s ban on accepting foreign payments, or emoluments.

Here is what is at stake: The Founding Fathers wrote a clause into the Constitution saying U.S. officials cannot accept “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title” from foreign governments without the consent of Congress. Trump’s critics say that by refusing to sell off his global businesses, the president is failing to uphold the Constitution.

But before that issue can be debated, the court first has to decide whether the plaintiffs even have standing to bring their Emoluments Clause case. And that first step is what is happening in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

This is yet another example of why the phrase “checks and balances” is such an empty bit of verbiage. The Constitution says, but on the other hand, nobody has “standing” to get it enforced. If the other branches are all standing around with their thumbs up their asses, then it doesn’t matter what the Constitution says and these crooked weasels get to go right on filling their bank accounts while destroying the country.

CREW’s co-plaintiffs include the owner of several hotels and restaurants in New York City, an association of restaurants and restaurant workers and an events booker in D.C.

They say they’ve lost business to Trump establishments — not because of fair competition, but because many foreign officials take their business to Trump properties to curry favor with the president. That is a claim that Trump’s Justice Department argues against.

Even in its preliminary stages, the case could have impact. If the plaintiffs win on the standing question, Bookbinder said, “the next phase of the case would be discovery.”

And if they lose, then Trump and his Trumplets go right on feathering their own nests at our civic and moral expense.

Vermont Law School professor Jennifer Taub said that if the case fails, it would set a “terrible precedent.”

Taub, who helped to organize a campaign last winter for disclosure of Trump’s tax returns, said, “We cannot have a representative democracy if the president takes office with the purpose of personal gain and essentially influence-peddling.”

I expect it to fail. We seem to be doomed to be destroyed by this monstrosity.

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