California Supreme Court rules Trump doesn’t have to release tax returns

Donald Trump. File photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Nov. 22 (UPI) — In a legal victory for President Donald Trump, the California Supreme Court ruled that it is against the state’s constitution to require a presidential candidate to reveal their tax returns as a condition to appear on the state’s primary election ballot.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for every California voter,” Jessica Millan Patterson, the chairwoman for the California Republican Party, said in a statement. “This decision solidifies the California State constitutional provisions to place candidates on the ballot, and the important fact that the legislature may not place additional restrictions on those requirements.”

The state’s Supreme Court ruled that a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in July violates a section of the state’s constitution by requiring someone who is “recognized” throughout the nation to reveal five years of tax returns to run in the state’s primary elections.

In the 53-page decision, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote that Newsom’s bill may be correct that a presidential candidate’s income tax returns could provide California voters with important information, but within the constitution is the principle that it is up to the voters to decide if the refusal of a “recognized” candidate to reveal their tax information “will have consequences at the ballot box.”

Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, in a dissenting opinion, said the Supreme Court’s holding in the case is “narrow” and that it doesn’t prohibit laws from seeking tax information from a presidential candidate so long as doing so doesn’t bar the person’s name from the election ballot.

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In a separate case against the law, a judge ruled early last month to temporarily block it from going into effect, stating it may be unconstitutional.

“While we are disappointed in today’s ruling, the movement for greater transparency will endure,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Thursday in dropping the case. “The history of our democracy is on the side of more transparency, not less.”

Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, in a dissenting opinion, said the Supreme Court’s holding in the case is “narrow” and that it doesn’t prohibit laws from seeking tax information from a presidential candidate so long as doing so doesn’t bar the person’s name from the election ballot.

In a separate case against the law, a judge ruled early last month to temporarily block it from going into effect, stating it may be unconstitutional.

“While we are disappointed in today’s ruling, the movement for greater transparency will endure,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Thursday in dropping the case. “The history of our democracy is on the side of more transparency, not less.”

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