In an opinion today, Judge Daniels dismissed on standing grounds a suit challenging President Trump’s business dealings under the so-called Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses in the U.S. Constitution (see our prior coverage here). Judge Daniels concluded that the alleged “competitive injury” suffered by the “Hospitality Plaintiffs” who compete with President Trump’s hotels was not sufficient, because the harm was not within the “zone of interests” of the Clauses:
Nothing in the text or the history of the Emoluments Clauses suggests that the Framers intended these provisions to protect anyone from competition. The prohibitions contained in these Clauses arose from the Framers’ concern with protecting the new government from corruption and undue influence . . . . There is simply no basis to conclude that the Hospitality Plaintiffs’ alleged competitive injury falls within the zone of interests that the Emoluments Clauses sought to protect.
Judge Daniels also rejected the argument from the lead plaintiff, the watchdog group “CREW,” that it had standing to sue by virtue of the “drain on its limited resources” caused by President Trump’s actions:
CREW’s decision to investigate and challenge Defendant’s actions under the Domestic and Foreign Emoluments Clauses at the expense of its other initiatives reflects a choice about where and how to allocate its resources — one that almost all organizations with finite resources have to make. If CREW could satisfy the standing requirement on this basis alone, it is difficult to see how any organization that claims it has directed resources to one project rather than another would not automatically have standing to sue.