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California Supreme Court strikes down law requiring release of tax returns for ballot placement

California Supreme Court strikes down law requiring release of tax returns for ballot placement

“Whatever authority the Legislature may have in defining how presidential primaries are to occur in this state, the challenged sections of the act exceed such authority and are unenforceable”

https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/1194660405907464194

The California Supreme Court has just struck down a state law that required President Trump to release his tax returns in order to appear on the state’s primary ballot.

Justices in Sacramento said that the law – which required all candidates for president and governor to submit five years’ worth of personal income tax returns in order to be included on primary ballots – was unconstitutional.


“Whatever authority the Legislature may have in defining how presidential primaries are to occur in this state, the challenged sections of the act exceed such authority and are unenforceable,” California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the opinion.

The vote wasn’t even close; it was unanimous.

As an extra bonus, California’s Chief Justice derided it for not being inclusive.

The state high court’s seven justices unanimously ruled that the law conflicts with a state constitutional amendment that mandates that the primary ballot list all “recognized candidates throughout the nation or throughout California.”

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote that the constitutional amendment sets forth “a rule of inclusivity for presidential primary elections that the Legislature cannot contravene.”

Jessica Patterson, chairwoman of the Republican Party, led the suit against the state. Among her concerns is that the lack of a Republican primary candidate would hurt the GOP’s chances during the election.

“Lawmakers didn’t even take into account the conflicts it may have with the state constitution,” Patterson said. “This is a pretty direct example that California Democrats here have been completely arrogant and their overreach knows no bounds. This was a solution in search of a problem.”

Patterson had worried fewer Republicans would show up for the primary if Trump weren’t at the top of the ticket, especially as Democrats appear fired up going into the 2020 primary, which the state had bumped up from June to March.

Under the state’s primary system, the two highest vote-getters could both be Democrats, which would prevent a Republican from advancing to the general election in down-ballot races.

“If we didn’t have our presumed nominee on the ballot in the 2020 primary, there would be Republicans that stayed home,” Patterson said.

However, Governor Gavin Newsom remains undaunted.

Jesse Melgar, a spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom, said the governor “would continue to urge all candidates to voluntarily release their tax returns,” as Newsom has done for decades as a candidate for public office.

“Congress and other states can and should take action to require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns,” Melgar said.

And while Trump may not win the state in the General Election, California’s Republicans are certainly more enthusiastic about their one primary candidate than the state’s Democrats are about their 20 or so hopefuls.

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Comments

“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”. US constitution.
I do not believe that extends to qualifications of the candidates. It reads more ministerial.

    Milhouse in reply to puhiawa. | November 23, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    That clause is irrelevant here. (1) That is about Congress; (2) It’s about the election of congressmen; (3) It’s about general elections, not primaries.

    The California law was perfectly consistent with the US constitution, but not the CA constitution, which specifically forbids the state legislature from excluding from a primary any “recognized candidate”.

    The US constitution would allow such a restriction, but only in the primary. It would not allow it in a general election. Which is why the CA law didn’t even try that.

Having to file a return constitutes requiring self-incrimination, except for the IRS promise not to release returns to others, including other agencies.

That’s the constitutional hook for no compulsion to release returns.

    Milhouse in reply to rhhardin. | November 23, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Appearing on a primary ballot is not a right, it’s a privilege granted by the state, so the state can put any requirements it likes. In this case the problem was that it violated state law.

      rhhardin in reply to Milhouse. | November 24, 2019 at 6:45 am

      It still compels self-incrimination.

        Milhouse in reply to rhhardin. | November 24, 2019 at 9:25 am

        No, it doesn’t. You can choose not to run in a primary.

          rhhardin in reply to Milhouse. | November 24, 2019 at 9:42 am

          How would “you can choose not to drive a car” strike you, if the DMV required your tax return.

          Define compulsion.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | November 24, 2019 at 3:47 pm

          Indeed there is no right to drive a car on the state’s roads, which is why random DUI stops are constitutional. If you don’t want to waive your fourth amendment rights, don’t drive.

          Compulsion means exactly what it says. The fifth amendment forbids the government to order you to testify against yourself and to impose a criminal penalty if you don’t.

JusticeDelivered | November 23, 2019 at 8:33 pm

I am surprised that California’s Supreme Court followed the law with this ruling. It seems out of character.

Subheadline: Seven Sane Humans Found in California

Patterson had worried fewer Republicans would show up for the primary if Trump weren’t at the top of the ticket, especially as Democrats appear fired up going into the 2020 primary, which the state had bumped up from June to March.

Under the state’s primary system, the two highest vote-getters could both be Democrats, which would prevent a Republican from advancing to the general election in down-ballot races.

“If we didn’t have our presumed nominee on the ballot in the 2020 primary, there would be Republicans that stayed home,” Patterson said.

I was puzzled by this until I looked it up and found that CA will be holding its congressional primaries on the same day as the presidential ones. So the fear is that some Republican voters will turn out if there’s a R presidential primary with Trump on the ballot, even if he has no challengers, but won’t bother if there’s no presidential primary at all. And such people, once they’re at the polls anyway, will vote for a R candidate in the congressional primary, which may make the difference between having an R on the ballot in that district in November or not having one.

I don’t understand why anyone would behave like that; I would think that if someone is only motivated to vote because Trump needs him then he won’t come if Trump is running unopposed, or if he does come he won’t bother voting in the congressional primary. But who knows, people are weird.

    This is the biggest problem we have, complacent Republican voters. By the time they feel enough “pain” to go vote no matter what, it’ll be too late…

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