For California voters have sued to block a newly signed state law that prevents President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s 2020 primary ballot unless he discloses his tax returns.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last week signed California SB 27, that requires presidential candidates to file five years of their income tax returns with the California secretary in order to appear on the state’s primary ballot.
The conservative group Judicial Watch announced on Monday, Aug. 5, it had filed a lawsuit last week in federal court against California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D).
The lawsuit alleges that the California’s law effectively alters the Constitution by adding a new requirement for tax returns, which a state government doesn’t have the authority to impose on candidates.
Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states the qualifications to hold the office of president: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the new law violates the plaintiffs’ rights under the First and 14th amendments of the Constitution.
“California politicians, in their zeal to attack President Trump, passed a law that also unconstitutionally victimizes California voters,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said on Monday. “It is an obvious legal issue that a state can’t amend the U.S. Constitution by adding qualifications in order to run for president. The courts can’t stop this abusive law fast enough.”
Judicial Watch argues that rationale could lead states to demand things like medical and mental health records and eventually things like Amazon purchases, Google search histories, and Facebook friends.
When Newsom signed the law last week, he put out statements from three lawyers, including the dean of the University of California, Berkeley law school, arguing that the law is constitutional.
“SB 27, which requires that presidential candidates disclose tax returns, is constitutional. It does not keep any candidate from being on the ballot so long as he or she complies with a simple requirement that is meant to provide California voters crucial information,” reads the statement.
The California law would face hurdles in court as Newsom’s predecessor, former Gov. Jerry Brown (D), vetoed a previous version of the measure in 2017, arguing it might not be constitutional.
The four plaintiffs are two Republicans, one Democrat and one independent.
Last month, President Trump filed a lawsuit against the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee that also required the president to disclose his tax returns.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press