Emoluments Law Suit, Filed Today, Haunted by Past Debacle

Press Release (ePRNews.com) - WASHINGTON - Jan 23, 2017 - A law suit filed today by a group of prominent law professors, challenging President Donald Trump for alleged violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, may well yield the same result – a complete rout and debacle, including a major loss – as the last major case brought by law professors, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

        In 2006, a law suit largely put together by constitutional and other law professors, arguing that universities which accepted federal funding nevertheless had a constitutional right to bar military recruiters from their campus, was rejected unanimously by the U.S. Supreme Court which sharply rebuked the law schools and law professors who brought the case for even making the argument.

        The Court trashed the four legal theories advanced by the law professors, especially Harvard’s statutory interpretation argument, although six justices went to Harvard Law.

        Worse, the case backfired on the learned professors when the Court also went on to say that Congress could probably mandate that colleges permit military recruiters on campus, even if the school does not accept any federal funding – a major and (to them) an unexpected loss, says Banzhaf.

        Perhaps even more stinging for the law professors was how they were treated and described by the major media, including even the liberal media which supported their cause but nevertheless trashed their law suit.

        For example, the New York Times, in a piece entitled “Supreme Court Smackdown,” said “On Monday, the best minds in the legal business struck out. The vote was 8-to-0 against them — a shutout, a rout, a humiliation.”  It cited what it called the “Clueless Law Professor Theory” in trying to explain it.

        The Washington Post, even before the Supreme Court ruled, said “this litigation is something of a misfire. . . .  As a legal matter, the [law school’s] claim seems wrong.”  Later it opined that the suit “trivializes the plight of gays in the military.”

        Likewise, the Los Angles Times, in a piece entitled “Flawed Legal Logic,” asked “how could the nation’s top law schools, overflowing with brilliant legal scholars, have agreed to make such an absurd argument? . . .  But their constitutional argument is embarrassingly weak.  It’s also dangerous.”  It cautioned that “law schools should step back from their self-indulgent campus politics.”

        The Harvard Crimson also weighed in, noting that Chief Justice Roberts singled out the Harvard professors’ brief, and later wrote that the Harvard faculty members’ interpretation of the Solomon Amendment is “clearly not what Congress had in mind.”

        It has been said that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,” and that many law professors could not litigate themselves out of a paper bag, much less find their way to the courthouse, notes Banzhaf, who has won over 100 legal proceedings, including several major constitutional victories.

        So, while this suit must be judged on its individual merits, the public should not assume that it has a significant probability of success simply because prominent law professors are backing it.

JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
2000 H Street, NW, Wash, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418
http://banzhaf.net/  jbanzhafATgmail.com  @profbanzhaf

Source : Public Interest Law Professor John Banzhaf

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