Douglas R. Hume

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The election of Donald Trump in 2016 rewrote some of the traditional rules for electing presidents in the United States. Does his election portend a new breed of presidential candidate, arising from the business and celebrity arena rather than traditional government service? If so, the potential for candidates with more diverse and global business interests (and the conflicts of interest that come along with them) becomes more likely. This Essay discusses the historical intent of the Emoluments Clauses and the issue of potential presidential conflicts of interest. This Essay also examines the litigation efforts filed against President Trump to force him to divest his business interests or transfer them to a blind trust, and the search for a plaintiff with standing to bring a valid claim. Lastly, this Essay discusses potential solutions if a plaintiff with standing cannot be found, or if the courts leave the problem to be solved within the political realm.