DonkeyHotey / Flickr Donald Trump Caricature...
DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Donald Trump’s tried yet again to pump the brakes on the emoluments challenge brought by Maryland and D.C. and yet again he’s failed. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine are suing Trump for violating the Constitution by accepting gifts, or emoluments, from state and foreign governments. There’s a whole clause (or two) on it.

Trump was fighting the court’s preliminary decisions—namely, that Maryland and D.C. have standing and that “emoluments” does include “any ‘profit,’ ‘gain’ or ‘advantage’ of a more than de minimis nature.” He tried to duck trial by lodging an “interlocutory” appeal, meaning he wanted to take these initial questions to the federal appellate court. Trump also asked that the court pause discovery in the meantime, of course.

Interlocutory appeals are rare; it’s even rarer that they’re granted. That’s because they rarely make sense—you’re asking the district court to send part of the case to the appellate court, the appellate to rule so the district court can take it back, all before the district court reaches a final decision from which the parties can appeal back to the appellate court.

The criteria are stringent: An interlocutory appeal is warranted only when there’s “[1] … a controlling question of law [2] as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion [3] and that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.”

Trump argued that his case involves at least four controlling questions of law, all of which involve “substantial ground for difference of opinion.” He challenged not just the emolument and standing determinations but the court’s ability to grant relief against the president at all.

Plaintiffs’ citation-based reply was delightful. As the judge notes, Maryland and D.C. “insist[ed] that a party’s ‘own disappointment or disagreement with the outcome of an order does not rise to the level of substantial doubt.’”

Judge Peter Messitte of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland takes a careful 30 pages to walk through the absurdity of Trump’s interlocutory appeal.

Messitte was able to dispense with the bid to delay discovery even more quickly than the interlocutory appeal. The same language that defines which questions may be certified for consideration by the appellate court notes that “’[t]hat application … shall not stay proceedings’ unless ordered by the district judge or appellate court.” Nice try.

What does that mean?

Discovery is coming. And that’s what Trump fears most—anything from tax returns to Russian connections could come to light, not to mention the likely showdown over a presidential deposition.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


  1. Yep, the Donald is always “thinking”. He is a slick one. Keep watching, he should be kept under surveillance at all times.
    Why was he allowed to have his Cabinet Made up of his children? Isn’ that nepotism? Why doesn’t someone in Government correct him when he says stupid things? His behavior, his rhetoric, Gross accounts of his immoral behavior published for all the world to see would bring most human to his knees. The man is shame-dead. I don’t “get it”.

    • Because he aligned himself with the GOP, who only cares about themselves anyway and Derr Orange Howler Monkey was a perfect fit at the time. AND the GOP controlled both houses of Congress so the Dems could do not much to nothing. NOT ANYMORE!!! Hahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahahhhahahahaaaa! Sorry, Don the con, the jig is up!

  2. He has gotten away with so many things all his life and he thinks he can do the same in the government. It is about time that he pays for his offenses and gets the punishments he deserves. He is a crook and a cheat. A despicable human being.


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