George Washington’s secret land deal actually strengthens CREW’s Emoluments claim [Updated]

[Update on June 20: In his original SSRN draft, Tillman did not include evidence that the auction was publicized. On June 16, 2017, Tillman filed an amicus brief that offers evidence that the auction was advertised in advance and was public, although it is still unclear from the footnotes and sources cited if there were any newspaper coverage of Washington’s purchases at the auction. It is possible that Washington himself was confused about whether the acquisition of land, as opposed to a payment, could be an emolument. Or perhaps he was being conveniently selective or forgetful about the emoluments clause.]

Author: Jed Shugerman

Legal historian at Fordham Law School, teaching Torts, Administrative Law, and Constitutional History. JD/PhD in History, Yale. Red Sox and Celtics fan, youth soccer coach. Author of "The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America" (2012) on the rise of judicial elections in America. I filed an amicus brief in the Emoluments litigation against Trump along with a great team of historians. I'm working on "The Rise of the Prosecutor Politicians," a history of prosecutors and political ambition (a cause of mass incarceration), and "The Imaginary Unitary Executive," on the myths and history of presidential power in America.

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