Posted by: Ember Van Vranken, Natalia Villar, Cadmus Wang, Zachary Ward, Sarah Wolf, and Ikaika Woods
“I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul,”
Donald Trump in an interview with Stephen Bannon last year.
The two Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution have become a source of interest and controversy due to President Trump’s election into office. The Foreign Emoluments Clause in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 bans those who hold offices under the United States from receiving payments or emoluments from foreign governments. Additionally, the Domestic Emoluments Clause in Article II, Section 1, Clause 7 bans the President from receiving emoluments from any of the states. CNN reported that President Trump revealed business dealings with 144 companies in 25 countries during his initial pre-campaign financial disclosures. Furthermore, according to the New York Times, President Trump’s businesses have received substantial state tax benefits.These business interests likely violate the Foreign Emoluments Clause and have the potential to violate the Domestic Emoluments Clause.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed lawsuit against President Trump in late January, alleging that President Trump’s business interests violate the Constitution. The substantive issues involved have merit, but the plaintiffs likely lack standing for lack of a differentiated claim and will probably fail for this reason. Due to his extensive business interests, President Trump is in violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause and will likely violate the Domestic Emoluments Clause. President Trump’s business interests have created a widespread, general awareness for the constitutional issue brought up by both the Emoluments Clauses. President Trump stated during his campaign, that he would delegate all responsibilities in his business dealings to others; however, his financial interest would remain regardless of his delegation. Hence, we are left with the issue of determining whether President Trump’s business dealings both within the country and in foreign nations violates either of the Emoluments Clauses. To arrive at a conclusion, this blog will provide background information on the development and adoption of both the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses from the Articles of Confederation to the adoption of the Constitution. This blog post will further analyze President Trump’s measures to avoid a constitutional violation and why these measures are insufficient. Continue reading “Trump and the Emoluments Clause: Who’s Toupée?”
Posted by: KC Stockbridge, Michael Stone, Tiffany Stuehling, Juliana Tallone, Santiago Teran, Jacob Valdez
“The government should be run like a business.” This oft-repeated maxim suggests what many consider to be the best approach for piloting the United States. For President Trump, business strategy might add a degree of efficiency to a bloated federal structure that has simply grown “too big to manage.” To effect this change and combat the size of the government, the President has issued an Executive Order that seeks to reduce the prevalence and impact of federal regulations by demanding that for every one new regulation implemented by a federal agency, two existing regulations be identified for repeal. However, in light of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and congressional statutes that require agencies to create regulations, this Executive Order may be beyond President Trump’s power. Litigation is pending on the matter, and as this blog discusses, it is likely the court will hold that this Executive Order exceeds the scope of the President’s power. Continue reading “THE PRESIDENT’S ROAD TO REPEALING REGULATIONS”
Posted by: Charles Seby, Connor Sonksen, David Schapira, Daniel Rubinov, Tyler Schwenke, and Danielle Solomon
“NAFTA was the worst trade deal in the history – it’s like – the history of this country.”
–Donald Trump on June 28, 2016
It would not be an overstatement to say that the first few months of the Trump administration included several diplomatic mishaps, including two jumbled iterations of a travel ban, a less-than-polite phone call with Australia, and awkwardly unsubstantiated claims that the UK spied on the President himself. But something the public hasn’t heard much about since the campaign trail is the President’s position on the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). During the election campaign, President Trump called NAFTA the “worst trade deal” ever signed by the United States. Trump’s campaign suggested everything from renegotiating the terms of the agreement to abandoning the deal altogether. As of this writing, his administration has taken no major steps toward fulfilling this campaign promise. But the question remains whether President Trump even has the power to unilaterally fulfill this promise. The simple answer: no. The longer answer: it’s complicated. Continue reading “TERRIFIC TRADE DEALS: PRESIDENT TRUMP UNILATERALLY PULLING THE UNITED STATES FROM NAFTA WOULD LIKELY BE FAKE NEWS”
Posted By: Paola Pescador, Hugo Polanco, Nicole Prefontaine, Selene Presseller, Marla Reed, and Britney Rossi
On January 31, 2017, the City and County of San Francisco filed suit seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against the United States and President Trump in response to Executive Order 13768, entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” The three-part complaint contends, first, that San Francisco complies with the requirements of 8 U.S.C. § 1373; second, that 8 U.S.C. § 1373(a) is unconstitutional; and third, that Executive Order 13768 is unconstitutional by way of violating the Tenth Amendment. This discussion analyzes the merits of San Francisco’s case and the likelihood of its success. Continue reading “Can President Trump Make Good on His Threat to Cut Federal Funding to Sanctuary Cities?”
Posted By: Andrew McComb, Corinne Merdegia, Philip Moncla, Mackenzie Moore, Maria Oldham, and Dominic Papa
To win the 2016 Presidential election, Donald Trump needed 270 out of 538 Electoral College votes. He ended up with 306. The real discrepancy, however, was with the popular vote. Hillary Clinton finished with 62,523,126 popular votes, while Donald Trump finished with only 61,201,031. It appears she should have won, right? But that is not what happened. Why didn’t she? For the answer to this question, we look to the Electoral College. What exactly is the Electoral College and how does it work? More importantly, is it still working? Continue reading “THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT?”
Posted By: James Lawrence, Gary Gold, Orlando Luna, Camron Liston, Amanda Lewis, Sarah Lemelman, and Sarah Lemley
During the 2016 presidential campaign, and before elected President, Donald J. Trump made a lot of promises to the American people. He frequently stated his goals would be “easy” to achieve and the outcomes would be “great.” Upon inspection of his term limit campaign promise, frequently tagged as #draintheswamp on Twitter, the outcome won’t be as great and easily achieved as Trump believes it to be.
Career politicians, referred to as swamp monsters, are on Trump’s chopping block. He vows to impose term limits on them by way of constitutional amendment. Although congressional term limits undoubtedly echo with countless voters, Trump seemingly failed to contemplate the practical realities behind his promise. First, the likelihood that the President’s proposed amendment will pass is slim to none since a constitutional amendment requires a supermajority of both houses of Congress or a supermajority of state legislatures. Second, term limits will gravely affect the balance of power between branches of government in a way that is contrary to what the Founders intended for our nation. Finally, even in states where term limits have been adopted they have failed to fulfill their goals. Continue reading “#DrainTheSwamp: Trump’s Plan to Enact Congressional Term Limits”
Posted by: McCall Hoerz, Ellyse Holzman, Elizabeth Hunt, Zachary Hubbell, Jesse James, Emily Jeffries, Delaney Krauss
Will the Supreme Court find the REAL ID Act unconstitutional if challenged? That Act provides federal standards for state driver’s licenses and other IDs. States historically have been in charge of issuing and regulating state identification and licenses. However, beginning October 1, 2020, all air travelers must present a REAL ID compliant license or another acceptable form of identification for air travel. Some state legislatures, including Arizona, have chosen not to adopt the REAL ID Act for their state licenses.
Some citizens have criticized the REAL ID Act as unconstitutional. This will probably be litigated because only 25 states and Washington, D.C. are currently in compliance with the Act. In determining the constitutionality of the REAL ID Act, the Court will consider if the REAL ID Act is a valid exercise of Congressional power under the War Power or Commerce Clause Power. However, the act would still be unconstitutional if the Tenth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment prohibited it, so the Supreme Court will consider those arguments as well.
After evaluation of these issues, we believe the REAL ID Act is probably constitutional. Continue reading “Is the REAL ID Act REALly unconstitutional?”