In a win for the states, a lawsuit can go forward with arguing that President Donald Trump is in violation of the Constitution, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.
According to Vox, the judge was expected to dismiss the lawsuit, which argues that Trump’s continued involvement in the Trump Organization violates the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause. The section prohibits federal officials from accepting certain gifts or payments from foreign governments or U.S. states, though there is debate over what exactly an “emolument” is.
Maryland and Washington, D.C., filed the lawsuit against Trump last June, arguing that he’s violating the Constitution because his businesses receive payments from foreign governments and U.S. officials. The states had to also show they were hurt by advantages of Trump’s business connections while he serves as U.S. president.
In his decision, U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte said plaintiffs have “sufficiently alleged” that Trump is violating the emolument clause with his involvement in the Trump International Hotel and operations of the Trump Organization.
Plaintiffs have demonstrated their standing to challenge those purported violations because they have shown injury-in-fact, fairly traceable to the President’s acts, and that the injury is likely redressable by the Court.
The scope of the case as it goes forward, however, will be limited to the Washington, D.C., area and Trump’s business involvements there, excluding Mar-a-Lago in Florida and other national businesses.