To the casual observer, the dismissal of these suits seems akin to dismissing a murder charge because, after all, the decedent is dead and can no longer be killed by the defendant. Was the president guilty or was he not? Surely, the charges brought against the ex-president, if brought by the House of Representatives during his term of office, could have resulted in impeachment and potential conviction and removal from office. Apparently, however, the Emoluments Clause lacks enforcement provisions in ordinary law making the prohibited action illegal and subject to particular penalties.
The action of the Supreme Court is outrageous, but the court could perhaps do nothing more than it did. Apparently, actual legislation backing up the Emoluments Clause is needed.