Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Yesterday’s Supreme Court order list included orders in two cases, Trump v. CREW and Trump v. District of Columbia, in which the plaintiffs have alleged that Donald Trump’s business activities while serving as President violated the Emoluments Clauses. In both cases, the Supreme Court granted Trump’s cert petition, vacated the judgment, and remanded with instructions to dismiss the case as moot—citing United States v. Munsingwear, Inc., 340 U. S. 36 (1950). Although the Court provided no further explanation, it appears that these claims were moot because Trump is no longer President. (The cases sought only declaratory and injunctive relief.)
Unfortunately, the Munsingwear mootness vacatur wipes out a thoughtful Fourth Circuit en banc majority opinion rejecting Trump’s petition for a writ of mandamus. One particularly intriguing question—which was one of the questions presented in Trump’s cert petition—is whether the court of appeals may use mandamus to require the district court to certify an order for an interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). If folks are interested, I discuss that issue—and other questions of appellate jurisdiction that have arisen in the Trump Emoluments litigation—in a recent article that was part of the Akron Law Review’s recent symposium on federal appellate procedure.