Unlike clauses such as the Speech Clause which receive a fair amount of attention, the Emoluments Clauses have received very little attention in the past. In July 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Peter J. Messitte ruled that the case against President Trump alleging he had violated both of the Constitution’s anticorruption clauses should proceed. Sujit Choudhry broke down this ruling for the layman.
There are two Emoluments Clauses. Under the Foreign Emoluments Clause, no one holding any office or profit shall accept Emolument of any kind from a foreign state without the consent of Congress. In the Domestic Emoluments Clause, the president will only receive compensation for service for the time he is in office. The compensation shall neither be increased nor decreased, and the president will not receive any other Emolument from the U.S. The foreign clause does not explicitly mention the president, but the domestic one does.
In this case, Sujit Choudhry explains how opposing parties have differed on what an emolument is. President Trump says an emolument is any compensation received for services rendered either employment or a government office, but one’s government salary is not an emolument. His opponents, on the other hand, say it is anything of value such as profit, gain or advantage.
In the case, the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia allege that President Trump retained a financial interest in Trump International Hotel meaning profits earned from the hotel are emoluments. In his opinion, Judge Messitte agrees that the president has a case to answer.
Sujit Choudhry is an internationally acclaimed constitutional lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. He has worked with countries such as South Africa, Egypt, and Sri Lanka, among others on the rule of law processes, constitutional building, and governance. He has given lectures on the same in more than 30 countries, and his expertise in facilitating public dialogues sessions, performing advisory work with technical experts, and leading stakeholder consultations, among other services, are highly sought across the world.
Sujit Choudhry is the Founder and Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions (CT) which gathers knowledge for constitutional building by bringing together experts in the field. At the International Society of Public Law, he sits on the Executive Committee while at the International Journal of Constitutional Law he serves on the Board of Editors. His work in the sector has won him awards such as the Practitioner of the Year in 2011 by the Canadian South Asian Bar Association of Toronto.
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