Donald Trump Will Have To 'Face The Music' After Court Revives Emoluments Case, Harvard Law Professor Says

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe said Donald Trump will have to "face the music" after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Friday revived a lawsuit alleging the president is violating the Constitution with his business entanglements.

The three-judge panel ruled 2 to 1 to throw out a lower court ruling dismissing the lawsuit, sending the case back for further proceedings. The lawsuit argues that Trump failed to comply with the Constitution's emoluments clause by profiting from domestic and foreign officials who visit his hotels and restaurants.

The plaintiffs in the case cite several examples of foreign government officials, like the Embassy of Kuwait, choosing to stay at Trump's properties over other venues while visiting the U.S.

"It seems to me that now we're really cooking with gas in terms of holding the president's feet to the fire of the emoluments clause," Tribe told Newsweek on Friday shortly after the court's decision. Tribe is part of the legal team suing the president. The case was originally filed by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and other private groups.

"This is certainly impeachable conduct of the sort that this president has engaged in from the very beginning," Tribe added. "He basically now has to face the music and I think that's terrific."

CREW also applauded the court's decision to reinstate the case and said if the president wants to avoid the case going further he should divest from his business. Trump is the only president in modern history not to give up his business ties upon entering the Oval Office.

"We never wanted to be in a position where it would be necessary to go to court to compel the President of the United States to follow the Constitution," Noah Bookbinder, CREW's executive director, said in a statement. "However, President Trump left us no choice, and we will proudly fight as long as needed to ensure Americans are represented by an ethical government under the rule of law."

donald trump historically black colleges conference
President Donald Trump takes the stage during the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference at the Renaissance Hotel September 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Trump will have to face an emoluments case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit revived the lawsuit on Friday. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

This summer, the Fourth Circuit dismissed a similar emoluments lawsuit brought forth by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia. The officials argued that the president was illegally profiting from foreign and state government visitors at his Trump International Hotel located in Washington, D.C.

In their opinion, the panel suggested that the lawsuit was politically motivated and wondered why the government officials "came to the court for relief in the first place."

But on Friday, Circuit Judge Pierre Leval wrote that while "it is certainly possible that these lawsuits are fueled in part by political motivations, we do not understand the significance of that fact."

Leval continued, writing that "whether a lawsuit has political motivations is irrelevant" to the issues presented in the case. Tribe noted that it was "interesting" how the Second Circuit's ruling "goes out of its way to cast doubt on the Fourth Circuit opinion."

Trump, who is being defended in the case by the Department of Justice, could appeal the Second Circuit's latest decision. Tribe imagines that the White House will either seek a rehearing on the issue or will ask for a Supreme Court review. If the president decides to defend himself in court, he may be forced to disclose both his business records and his personal finances.

"It looks more like the Supreme Court will have to get into the picture, but when that will happen is very hard to predict," the law professor said.