Will Trump's business holdings run afoul of the Constitution's ban on foreign gifts?

President-elect Donald Trump is set to take an oath next month to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”But a previously obscure provision in the the nation’s founding document has now become the focus of special attention because of Trump’s worldwide real estate holdings and business ventures.

Known as the “emoluments clause,” the provision says “no person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign state.”The word emolument was used often in the 18th century to refer to the compensation or profit that would go with holding an office. Beyond that, the precise meaning of the ban remains in question because, unlike other parts of the Constitution, it has not been interpreted in the courts.

But as …