On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by the Biden administration to stop Congressmen from suing the federal government in cases involving the former Trump International Hotel in Washington.
The justices announced that they will examine a federal appeals court decision allowing Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee to pursue their lawsuit. They complained in 2017 when the Trump administration refused to provide them with information regarding the hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue that the Trump Organization had leased between the White House and the Capitol.
Six politicians who were involved in the case are no longer serving in the House, the family no longer controls the hotel, which is now a Waldorf Astoria, and most of the information was eventually made available.
However, the Biden Justice Department argued to the court that it is crucial to throw out the appellate decision in order to prevent a wave of lawsuits from individual members of Congress.
The trial will take place in the autumn.
Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, the hotel has been under fire for accepting donations from Republican lawmakers, businesses, and foreign governments hoping to win his favor. Trump’s family firm has a lease with the General Services Administration, and the hotel is located in the Old Post Office, which is controlled by the government.
Despite the lease’s prohibition on elected officials receiving any advantage that “may arise from the lease,” Trump refused to sell his ownership interest in the property while he was still in office. Democrats said there was a conflict of interest due to Trump owning the property.
Separately, Trump was accused of violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause by owning the hotel, which might have resulted in legal action.
The Supreme Court eventually put an end to those lawsuits in 2021, ruling that they were no longer relevant since Trump had left office.
The only documents remaining in contention in the case of the MPs are legal opinions. Only the question of whether the legislators have standing to sue is being considered by the Supreme Court.
Normally, members of Congress are not allowed to show up in federal court alone or in small groups and claim that because they are politicians, the government has to answer to their demands for information.
However, a 95-year-old legislation permits any seven members of the House Oversight Committee or five senators on its equivalent committee to ask for and receive specific information from government agencies.
Conflicts have nearly always been handled by negotiation. But there has never been a satisfactory answer to the issue of how to implement the law when attempts at compromise fail. Only two lawsuits by parliamentarians since the law’s passage in 1928 have resulted in significant court decisions.