The Trump administration and Republican party sued the state of California on Tuesday over a law signed last week by Governor Gavin Newsom that requires presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns in order to be on the state’s primary ballot. The law does not explicitly name President Donald Trump, who has not disclosed his tax information.
The complaint cites US Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, in which the Supreme Court held that the qualifications for president outlined in the Constitution “are ‘exclusive’ and that States do not have the power to ‘supplement’ them with their own.”
It argues that the California law is a violation of the First Amendment, in that it bars states from passing laws to retaliate against an individual for his or her political associations or speech.
The lawsuit is similar to one filed on August 1 by voters represented by the organization Judicial Watch, which argues the rationales provided by the California legislature for passing the Act are not valid under the Constitution, which allows states to regulate elections only for procedure or administration
“None of the interests proffered by the California legislature for requiring the disclosure of candidates’ tax returns is related to election procedure or administration. Rather, the stated interests incorporate particular, substantive judgments about what is most important for voters to know when considering a candidate, how voters should go about ‘estimate[ing] the risk’ of a candidate ‘engaging in corruption,’ and what might assist law enforcement in detecting violations of the Emoluments Clause and crimes ‘such as insider trading.'”