In re Trump, 071019 FED4, 18-2486

Docket Nº:18-2486
Opinion Judge:NIEMEYER, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
Party Name:In re DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, in his official capacity, Petitioner. PROFESSOR CLARK D. CUNNINGHAM; PROFESSOR JESSE EGBERT, Amici Curiae, SCHOLAR SETH BARRETT TILLMAN; JUDICIAL EDUCATION PROJECT, Amici Supporting Petitioner, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIALS; COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA; THE NISKANEN CENTER; REP...
Attorney:Hashim M. Mooppan, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Petitioner. Loren L. AliKhan, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, D.C., for Respondents. Joseph H. Hunt, Assistant Attorney General, Mark R. Freeman, Michael S. Raab, Megan Barbero, ...
Judge Panel:Before NIEMEYER and QUATTLEBAUM, Circuit Judges, and SHEDD, Senior Circuit Judge.
Case Date:July 10, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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In re DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, in his official capacity, Petitioner.

PROFESSOR CLARK D. CUNNINGHAM; PROFESSOR JESSE EGBERT, Amici Curiae, SCHOLAR SETH BARRETT TILLMAN; JUDICIAL EDUCATION PROJECT, Amici Supporting Petitioner,

FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIALS; COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA; THE NISKANEN CENTER; REPUBLICAN WOMEN FOR PROGRESS; CHERI JACOBUS; TOM COLEMAN; EMIL H. FRANKEL; JOEL SEARBY; ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, AND FEDERAL COURTS SCHOLARS; CERTAIN LEGAL HISTORIANS, Amici Supporting Respondents.

No. 18-2486

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

July 10, 2019

Argued: March 19, 2019

On Petition for Writ of Mandamus from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Greenbelt. Peter J. Messitte, Senior District Judge. (8:17-cv-01596-PJM)

ARGUED:

Hashim M. Mooppan, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Petitioner.

Loren L. AliKhan, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, D.C., for Respondents.

ON BRIEF:

Joseph H. Hunt, Assistant Attorney General, Mark R. Freeman, Michael S. Raab, Megan Barbero, Civil Division, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Petitioner.

Brian E. Frosh, Attorney General, Steven M. Sullivan, Solicitor General, Leah J. Tulin, Assistant Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MARYLAND, Baltimore, Maryland; Karl A. Racine, Attorney General, Stephanie E. Litos, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Civil Litigation Division, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, D.C.; Norman Eisen, Laura C. Beckerman, Stuart C. McPhail, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON, Washington, D.C.; Deepak Gupta, Joshua Matz, Daniel Townsend, GUPTA WESSLER PLLC, Washington, D.C.; Joseph M. Sellers, Christine E. Webber, COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL PLLC, Washington, D.C., for Respondents.

Craig Thomas Merritt, CHRISTIAN & BARTON, L.L.P., Richmond, Virginia, for Amici Professor Clark C. Cunningham and Professor Jesse Egbert.

Carrie Severino, JUDICIAL EDUCATION PROJECT, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Judicial Education Project.

Robert W. Ray, THOMPSON & KNIGHT LLP, New York, New York; Josh Blackman, Houston, Texas, for Amicus Scholar Seth Barrett Tillman.

Jan I. Berlage, GOHN HANKEY & BERLAGE LLP, Baltimore, Maryland, for Amici Scholar Seth Barrett Tillman and The Judicial Education Project. Harold Hongju Koh, Rule Of Law Clinic, YALE LAW SCHOOL, New Haven, Connecticut; Phillip Spector, MESSING & SPECTOR LLP, Baltimore, Maryland, for Amici National Security Officials. Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, Toby J. Heytens, Solicitor General, Matthew R. McGuire, Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Michelle S. Kallen, Deputy Solicitor General, Brittany M. Jones, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF VIRGINIA, Richmond, Virginia, for Amicus Commonwealth of Virginia.

Colin E. Wrabley, Devin M. Misour, Brian T. Phelps, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, M. Patrick Yingling, REED SMITH LLP, Chicago, Illinois, for Amici The Niskanen Center, Republican Women for Progress, Cheri Jacobus, Tom Coleman, Emil H. Frankel, and Joel Searby.

Regina Kline, Jean M. Zachariasiewicz, Anthony J. May, BROWN, GOLDSTEIN & LEVY, LLP, Baltimore, Maryland, for Amici Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, and Federal Courts Scholars.

H. Laddie Montague, Jr., Eric J. Cramer, Candace J. Enders, BERGER & MONTAGUE, P.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Erica C. Lai, Melissa H. Maxman, COHEN & GRESSER LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amici Certain Legal Historians.

Before NIEMEYER and QUATTLEBAUM, Circuit Judges, and SHEDD, Senior Circuit Judge.

NIEMEYER, CIRCUIT JUDGE:

The District of Columbia and the State of Maryland commenced this action against Donald J. Trump in his official capacity as President of the United States and in his individual capacity, alleging that he violated the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Emoluments Clause provides that no officer of the United States shall "accept" any "present, Emolument, Office, or Title . . . from any King, Prince, or foreign State." U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 8. And the Domestic Emoluments Clause provides that the President shall receive "Compensation" "for his Services" but not "any other Emolument" from the United States or any State. U.S. Const. art. II, § 1, cl. 7. The District and Maryland contend that the President's "continued ownership interest in a global business empire" provides him with "millions of dollars in payments, benefits, and other valuable consideration from foreign governments and persons acting on their behalf, as well as federal agencies and state governments," and that the President is therefore receiving "emoluments" that are prohibited by the Clauses.

In their complaint, the District and Maryland allege that the President's ongoing constitutional violations harm their sovereign, quasi-sovereign, and proprietary interests, particularly (1) Maryland's interest as a separate sovereign State in securing adherence to the terms on which it agreed to enter the Union; (2) the District and Maryland's interests in not being pressured to grant, or being perceived as granting, "special treatment to the [President] and his extensive affiliated enterprises"; (3) the District and Maryland's interests in protecting the economic well-being of their residents, who, as competitors of the President, are injured by "decreased business, wages, and tips resulting from economic and commercial activity diverted" to the President's businesses; (4) Maryland's interest in avoiding a "reduction in tax revenue that flows from [the alleged] violations"; and (5) the District and Maryland's interests as proprietors of businesses that compete with the President's businesses. For relief, the District and Maryland seek a declaratory judgment that the President has violated the Emoluments Clauses and injunctive relief prohibiting future violations.

The President, in his official capacity, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), contending, among other things, that the District and Maryland lack standing to bring their action; that they do not have equitable causes of action to enforce the Emoluments Clauses; and that he has not received "emoluments" as prohibited by the Clauses. The President also filed a separate motion to dismiss in his individual capacity under Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), contending additionally that he has absolute immunity.

The district court treated the President's motions piecemeal. First, by an opinion and order dated March 28, 2018, the court denied the President's motion filed in his official capacity "insofar as it dispute[d] Plaintiffs' standing to challenge the involvement of the President with respect to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. and its appurtenances and any and all operations of the Trump Organization with respect to the same"; it granted the motion with respect to the "operations of the Trump Organization and the President's involvement in the same outside the District of Columbia," concluding that the District and Maryland lacked standing to pursue any claims premised on such operations; and it deferred ruling on the other questions raised by the motion. The court also deferred ruling on the motion filed by the President in his individual capacity. Then, by an opinion and order dated July 25, 2018, the court concluded that the District and Maryland's complaint stated valid claims under the Emoluments Clauses and accordingly denied the President's motion to dismiss filed in his official capacity insofar as the claims were made against him with respect to the Trump International Hotel and all its appurtenances in Washington, D.C. The court again deferred ruling on the President's motion to dismiss filed in his individual capacity, which included the President's assertion of absolute immunity. Also with the July 25 order, the court directed the parties to submit a joint recommendation with respect to the next steps to be taken in the litigation, including an outline of proposed discovery.

The President, contending that the district court's rulings in both orders involved "controlling question[s] of law as to which there [was] substantial ground for a difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order[s] [would] materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation," filed a motion with the district court requesting that the court certify its orders for appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). By order dated November 2, 2018, the court denied the motion, concluding that "the President has failed to identify a controlling question of law decided by this court as to which there is a substantial ground for...

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