By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) California’s new law requiring presidential candidates to turn over years’ worth of tax returns to state officials or be banned from the ballot is being challenged as unconstitutional.
The Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, which was swiftly passed by the state’s Democrat supermajority and signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, is not only seen as a violation of the Constitution’s presidential requirements, but also as specifically targeting one candidate — President Donald Trump, for refusing to make his tax records public.
Democrats in Congress and in some blue states have become obsessed with forcing the president to release his returns, hoping, some say, to find some political leverage in them.
But legal watchdog group Judicial Watch filed suit against the state in federal court Monday on behalf of four California voters who do not believe the state has the authority to pass additional requirements for president.
“The suit alleges that the law unconstitutionally adds a new qualification for candidates for president. Judicial Watchâ€™s clients include a registered Independent, Republican, and Democrat California voter,” the group said in a news release.
Continuing, Judicial Watch noted:
Under the law, known as the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, candidates who do not publicly disclose their tax returns are barred from having their names printed on Californiaâ€™s primary ballots. Judicial Watch alleges that SB 27 imposes candidate qualifications beyond those allowed by the U.S. Constitution and impermissibly burdens a votersâ€™ expressive constitutional and statutory rights. The lawsuit claims violations of the U.S. Constitutionâ€™s Qualifications Clause, the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1983 and 1988.
The organization noted that the previous governor, Jerry Brown (D), vetoed similar legislation because he said he believed it would be “unconstitutional if enacted.”
“First, it may not be constitutional. Second, it sets a â€œslippery slopeâ€ precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?” Brown said at the time.
The suit also argues that the nature of the law is entirely political, “which is totally divorced from the statesâ€™ legitimate constitutional role in administering and establishing procedures for conducting federal elections,” the news release says.
The suit further notes:
Unless SB 27 is enjoined, states will assume the power to create their own qualifications for national candidates seeking to obtain a partyâ€™s nomination for president. This could lead to as many as 50 distinct and possibly inconsistent sets of qualifications regarding the only national election in the United States.
Using rationales similar to Californiaâ€™s, states might come to demand medical records, mental health records, sealed juvenile records, driving records, results of intelligence, aptitude, or personality tests, college applications, Amazon purchases, Google search histories, browsing histories, or Facebook friends.
â€œCalifornia politicians, in their zeal to attack President Trump, passed a law that also unconstitutionally victimizes California voters,â€ said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
â€œIt is an obvious legal issue that a state canâ€™t amend the U.S. Constitution by adding qualifications in order to run for president. The courts canâ€™t stop this abusive law fast enough,” he added.
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