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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