Stephen Rohde

Stephen Rohde, a civil liberties activist, historian, and writer, practiced constitutional law for over 45 years. He is the author of American Words of Freedom and Freedom of Assembly and is a contributor to The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Recent Articles

Trump Loses Opening Round in His Efforts to Defy Congressional Oversight

A federal judge finds that the precedents are heavily on Congress’s side. Will the Supreme Court agree?

The battle between President Trump and Congress reached the third branch of government Monday as a federal judge rejected all of Trump’s legal arguments in his intensified attack on congressional oversight. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta for the District of Columbia issued a 41-page decision in the historically named case Trump v. Committee on Oversight and Reform , rejecting Trump’s attempt to quash a subpoena seeking his financial records. It was the first legal test in the battle between Trump and Congress, and Trump lost. Badly. Trump immediately denounced the ruling as “totally the wrong decision by obviously an Obama-appointed judge.” Trump falsely claimed the decision was “crazy because if you look at it, this has never happened to any other president.” In fact, Judge Mehta gave numerous examples, including the congressional investigations into Watergate involving President Richard Nixon and Whitewater involving President Bill Clinton. The...

The Emoluments Clause Could Be a Tipping Point in Trump’s Downfall

The obstruction of justice documented in Mueller’s report has gotten more attention, but Trump’s profiting from his office is an open-and-shut impeachment count.

Alex Brandon/AP Photo
On April 30, a federal district judge rejected Trump’s motion to throw out the lawsuit filed by approximately 201 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives alleging that Trump has flagrantly violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause. The case was largely overlooked as national attention has focused on Trump’s obstruction of justice and his efforts to block further congressional scrutiny of his abuses of power. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, in a comprehensive 48-page opinion , ruled that the narrow definition of “emoluments” advanced by Trump’s lawyers “disregards the ordinary meaning of the term as set forth in the vast majority of Founding-era dictionaries; is inconsistent with the text, structure, historical interpretation, adoption, and purpose of the Clause; and is contrary to Executive Branch practice over the course of many years.” This was not the first time a federal judge has allowed such a case to go forward...