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Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:30 pm
by MsDaisy
Trump Campaign Sues Over California’s Requirement to Release Tax Returns
President Trump and the Republican National Committee filed a pair of lawsuits on Tuesday against officials in California challenging a new law requiring presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns in order to be placed on the state primary ballot in 2020.

The R.N.C. suit, which was filed in the Eastern District of California and included the California Republican Party and several California Republican voters as plaintiffs, called the law a “naked political attack against the sitting president of the United States.” It was filed against Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California secretary of state.

Mr. Trump and his campaign filed a second suit challenging the constitutionality of the new law, and it named the California secretary of state and the state attorney general. In that suit, they argue that states do not have the power to “supplement” the qualifications for the president, set forth by the Constitution.

The law, known as the “California Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act,” was signed by Mr. Newsom last week, and was the latest flash point between the White House and the State of California, which is involved in more than 40 lawsuits against the Trump administration, on issues including environmental regulation and immigration.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/p ... e=Homepage

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:37 pm
by Jim
I have to go with the Pres here...as far as I'm concerned it's as legal as all the states that passed laws requiring a birth certificate during the Obama years.

Anyone have a different take?

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:44 pm
by MsDaisy
The article also said that the suit did contain “more political rhetoric than is common”, but also said “it raises the correct legal issues”. What say our brilliant lawyers? Chance? No chance?

:popcorn:

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:57 pm
by bob
The first step would be to locate and read the actual complaint, which was filed in E.D. Cal. (i.e., in Sacramento).


But I think the consensus in these parts is that the law is unconstitutional because the states have only limited inherent powers to keep orderly ballots, which is why states can boot facially ineligible candidates or put up modest barriers to ballot access, but not much else.

In other words, California's law is too immodest -- it is in effect an eligibility requirement not found in the U.S. Constitution, or otherwise is too high of a barrier to ballot access.


Whether the attorneys for the current president and RNC can competently argue their position, however, is yet a different matter.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:20 am
by Mikedunford
I haven't read the complaint either - but as far as I can tell the only thing that distinguishes this law from the term limits one that the Supreme Court struck down is that this affects ballot access for the primary instead of the general. I doubt that will be enough to save the law, but it at least gives the California lawyers something to argue.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:04 am
by Danraft
The only argument that I could consider for the newly signed law is that it doesnt inflict new qualifications to be president.

It does not require that one has paid one's taxes or of any amount of income or any characteristic of the candidatd. He has to be neither taller or shorter, wealthier or poorer, older or younger, etc..

If the law specifically said that if a candidate has not paid their taxes they could still run, would this be a viable argument?

If that were true, since it likely isnt worded that way, could it still be modified?

Also, if this were not a requirement of the state, but of the state party, could this hold.
(Leaving aside the improbability of such a situtation)

Still makes him a doo-doo head.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:22 pm
by bob
So I found the a complaint; it was filed by ... Judicial Watch.

Plaintiffs are four California voters (including two Republicans), so I don't think standing will be an issue.

Complaint alleges violation of section 1983 and the "Qualification Clause" (read: Natural Born Citizen Clause); section 1983 and First Amendment (right of association); and section 1983 and equal protection (party affiliated and non-party affiliated treated differently).

The last claim is silly; non-party-affiliated candidates don't appear on the primary ballots. The strongest claim, IMO, is the First Amendment one, as it inhibits the parties' ability to choose candidates.
Edit: Not the anchoring post's lawsuit.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:16 pm
by SLQ
bob wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:22 pm
So I found the complaint; it was filed by ... Judicial Watch.

Plaintiffs are four California voters (including two Republicans), so I don't think standing will be an issue.

Complaint alleges violation of section 1983 and the "Qualification Clause" (read: Natural Born Citizen Clause); section 1983 and First Amendment (right of association); and section 1983 and equal protection (party affiliated and non-party affiliated treated differently).

The last claim is silly; non-party-affiliated candidates don't appear on the primary ballots. The strongest claim, IMO, is the First Amendment one, as it inhibits the parties' ability to choose candidates.
So it isn't "Trump" v. CA? Perhaps a title change?

ETA: I re-read the NYT article above that started this thread. Perhaps the Judicial Watch suit is a third suit?

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:20 pm
by bob
SLQ wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:16 pm
ETA: I re-read the NYT article above that started this thread. Perhaps the Judicial Watch suit is a third suit?
Yeah; it would appear there are multiple lawsuits; at least three.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:26 pm
by Northland10
I thought Larry said Judicial Watch only files FOIA suits.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:28 pm
by Jim
bob wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:20 pm
SLQ wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:16 pm
ETA: I re-read the NYT article above that started this thread. Perhaps the Judicial Watch suit is a third suit?
Yeah; it would appear there are multiple lawsuits; at least three.
Please help this IANAL out...IIRC in a few of the suits about Obama's Birth Certificate, before they got to court, some were dismissed not for standing but for the fact that they could prove the damage was unique to them and not all voters?

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:07 pm
by bob
Jim wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:28 pm
Please help this IANAL out...IIRC in a few of the suits about Obama's Birth Certificate, before they got to court, some were dismissed not for standing but for the fact that they could prove the damage was unique to them and not all voters?
That is essentially standing. Several suits (especially in federal court) were dismissed because the plaintiffs were randos who were alleging they had a constitutional right not to have ineligible candidate on the ballot. :roll:

But, here, the plaintiffs are the current president (the first suit) and the RNC (the second suit); they clearly have standing.

In the third suit, three of the four plaintiffs are voters from the two major parties (the fourth is an independent, who intends to vote in a party's primary, if given the opportunity to do so), and the suit dutifully alleges that not all candidates have released their tax filings.* So these voters will be deprived of the opportunity to vote for the candidates of their choice if the law is allowed to stand. Which is a fairly classic First Amendment right of association violation.

Having said that, I suspect California will argue that these voters failed to specify that they intend to vote for candidates who haven't released their tax information (e.g., the current president). But even if that argument prevails, it is just a pleading defect that could be corrected in an amended complaint.


* Including Democratic candidates Biden, Castro, Gabbard, and Yang.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:13 pm
by Northland10
Could there be an argument that the injury suffered by the current plaintiffs is still hypothetical and that they need a plaintiff who was actually kept off the ballot? I have not reread the 9CA on Lindsay or read any complaints yet, so the answer to my question may be there.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:22 pm
by bob
Northland10 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:13 pm
Could there be an argument that the injury suffered by the current plaintiffs is still hypothetical and that they need a plaintiff who was actually kept off the ballot?
There's definitely a ripeness argument to be made ("ripe" essentially being the opposite of moot). But the injury need not have already occurred or be imminent; the trees-and-bunnies groups don't have to wait until the loggers start cutting down trees to sue.

I haven't read the current president's complaint, but a simple allegation ("I don't intend to release my tax filings") should be sufficient to avoid a ripeness argument, as the law already is in effect.

(In Lindsay v. Bowen, Lindsay didn't sue until she was excluded from the list of certified candidates. I don't think it could be read as saying a pre-list lawsuit wouldn't be ripe; ripeness simply wasn't an issue in that case.)

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:31 pm
by Northland10
bob wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:22 pm
Northland10 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:13 pm
Could there be an argument that the injury suffered by the current plaintiffs is still hypothetical and that they need a plaintiff who was actually kept off the ballot?
There's definitely a ripeness argument to be made ("ripe" essentially being the opposite of moot). But the injury need not have already occurred or be imminent; the trees-and-bunnies groups don't have to wait until the loggers start cutting down trees to sue.
Ripeness!!!! That's the word I could not think of when I wrote my post. :doh:

After reading all the old birther suits, I should have remembered that one (though not as easy to remember as standing, Lujan, jurisdiction, and rule 11, specifically 11c). I plead IANAL.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:46 pm
by Orlylicious
This will be an interesting case. There's a cite by a supporter to a really new case, De La Fuente v. Padilla, No. 17-56668, 2019 WL 3242193, at *3 (9th Cir. July 19, 2019). Fresh meat for our legal beagles! :P

Here is the Newsom press release with comment from David Boies among others:
Governor Gavin Newsom Signs SB 27: Tax Transparency Bill
Published: Jul 30, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom signed today legislation requiring candidates for U.S. President and California Governor to disclose their income tax returns in order to appear on California’s primary ballot.

SB 27, by Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), requires a candidate for U.S. President or California Governor to file copies of every income tax return filed with the Internal Revenue Service in the five most recent taxable years with the Secretary of State, at least 98 days prior to the corresponding primary election.

In signing the legislation, the Governor issued the following signing statement:

To the Members of the California State Senate:

Today, I am signing SB 27, the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act. I agree with the Legislature that “the State of California has a strong interest in ensuring that its voters make informed, educated choices in the voting booth.” As one of the largest economies in the world and home to one in nine Americans eligible to vote, California has a special responsibility to require this information of presidential and gubernatorial candidates.

These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence. The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interest.

The United States Constitution grants states the authority to determine how their electors are chosen, and California is well within its constitutional right to include this requirement.

In October of 2018, the Brennan Center’s National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy, a bipartisan group of former public servants and policy experts, recommended that Congress standardize and codify the longstanding practice of tax return disclosure by sitting presidents, vice presidents, and candidates for those offices to assist voters and deter corruption. I agree. This law should be a national standard

Accordingly, I am signing Senate Bill 27.

Sincerely,

Gavin Newsom

Governor Newsom has made releasing tax returns a priority in his campaigns for San Francisco Mayor, Lieutenant Governor and Governor. The Sacramento Bee wrotein 2017 Newsom “set a standard of transparency” for releasing 6 years of tax returns in his campaign for Governor, and after being elected Governor, Newsom announced he will become the first Governor in state history to release his tax returns on a yearly basis.

Nationally recognized leaders in constitutional law offered their support for the law and its constitutionality:

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, University of California, Berkeley School of Law:

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. This is the state acting to make sure that its voters have information that might be very important to them when they cast their ballots as to who they want to be President of the United States.

Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP:

SB 27, which would require a presidential candidate to publicly release redacted versions of her tax returns before her name can be placed on a California ballot for President of the United States, is constitutional. As the Ninth Circuit recently explained, such laws are constitutional if they are “generally applicable, even-handed, [and] politically neutral,” and the State has an important justification for enacting the law. De La Fuente v. Padilla, No. 17-56668, 2019 WL 3242193, at *3 (9th Cir. July 19, 2019).

Here, California’s bill meets all of these requirements. It will apply to any candidate for President, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent. And as the State Legislature concluded, the State has important interests “in ensuring that its voters make informed, educated choices in the voting booth,” among many other important reasons.

Every President from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama voluntarily chose to release his tax returns when running for office. Releasing tax information should be a prerequisite for appearing on the ballot for the highest office in the land, and the Constitution does not forbid California from making it one.

David Boies, Chairman, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP:

California SB-27, which would enact the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, is constitutional. That bill would require a candidate for President or Governor to file the candidate’s five most recent years of income tax returns with the California Secretary of State in order to have their names placed on California’s primary election ballot. Redacted versions of those returns would be made available to the public. The U.S. Constitution gives each state the authority to determine how that state’s electors are chosen, limited only by compliance with other constitutional provisions, such as equal protection. No other constitutional provision is implicated or violated by a state’s requirement that a Presidential candidate disclose tax returns. Moreover, California, which permits electors to be chosen by popular vote, has an important interest in insuring that its voters are informed. I also would note that people are regularly required to produce their tax returns pursuant to state law for far less consequential matters than a Presidential election, such as civil litigation or obtaining a loan from a bank.

###
https://www.gov.ca.gov/2019/07/30/gover ... ency-bill/

Another story from law.com about it here: https://www.law.com/therecorder/2019/07 ... 0707184122

Will Orly and birthers get out front on this? De La Fuente v. Padilla might be the breakthrough they've waited for 10 years for... :geek:

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:53 pm
by bob
Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP wrote:SB 27, which would require a presidential candidate to publicly release redacted versions of her tax returns before her name can be placed on a California ballot for President of the United States, is constitutional. As the Ninth Circuit recently explained, such laws are constitutional if they are “generally applicable, even-handed, [and] politically neutral,” and the State has an important justification for enacting the law. De La Fuente v. Padilla, No. 17-56668, 2019 WL 3242193, at *3 (9th Cir. July 19, 2019).
De La Fuente v. Padilla involved requiring voter signatures to appear on the ballot, and the 9th had no problem saying that kind of law is valid (because it essentially weeds out vanity candidates).

The 9th also said De La Fuente had standing (i.e., his challenge was ripe) because he needed to get organized to collect the signatures; the signatures, however, can't be submitted until around December. De La Fuente's declaration that he intends to run for the presidency in 2020 was sufficient.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:11 pm
by Orlylicious
From the JW complaint, the magic words appear... but they were said by Jerry Brown :lol:
CA BC.JPG

By the way, hope you had a Happy Birfday Jim! If it was really your birfday ;)

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:39 am
by Jim
Orlylicious wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:11 pm
By the way, hope you had a Happy Birfday Jim! If it was really your birfday ;)
Yep, I got the date fixed and now am the same as Obama again. :oops:

And, I'm going to be a grandpa again! Great BD!!!

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:57 am
by Northland10
Orlylicious wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:11 pm
From the JW complaint, the magic words appear... but they were said by Jerry Brown :lol:

CA BC.JPG


By the way, hope you had a Happy Birfday Jim! If it was really your birfday ;)
High School report cards? What about kindergarten records? Jerry needed to poke the birthers more.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:18 pm
by bob
To add to the fun: SCOCA issued an OSC (i.e., granted cert., essentially) on the tax returns issue. (Petition was filed by the California Republican Party and its chair.)

Briefing to be completed by September 16.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:17 pm
by bob
Briefing to be completed by September 16.
There were some untimely filings, but the case is fully briefed. And Erwin Chemerinsky and David Boies are in as amici.

Meanwhile: ABC: Trump scores a victory in bicoastal battle over tax returns:
President Donald Trump's efforts to keep his tax returns private played out on both coasts Thursday, with a California judge handing him an initial victory and his lawyers in New York City arguing that federal prosecutors there are trying "to harass" him by seeking the documents.

On the West Coast, a federal judge in Sacramento granted the Trump campaign's request to block a new California law that requires presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns to run in the state's March 2020 primaries. State officials are deciding whether to appeal.

* * *

Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who's in charge of elections, said the state will consider its options when the judge releases a written ruling by Oct. 1.

* * *

In court in Sacramento, Trump's lawyers conceded that the president would likely forgo the state's primary ballot rather than release his returns. U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. questioned why releasing tax returns was such a hurdle but was ultimately open to arguments opposing the law.

He appeared swayed by arguments that the U.S. Constitution, not states, sets the qualifications to run for president and that a federal law requiring candidates to release financial information supersedes the state's power to seek additional details.

"I don't care how you skin the cat, it's an unconstitutional law," said Harmeet Dhillon, who represented the state and national Republican parties.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:19 pm
by bob
bob wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:18 pm
To add to the fun: SCOCA issued an OSC (i.e., granted cert., essentially) on the tax returns issue. (Petition was filed by the California Republican Party and its chair.)
SCOCA blocked enforcement of the new state law requiring presidential candidates' tax returns, reasoning the new law was inconsistent with the California Constitution.

:silenced:

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:27 pm
by Sterngard Friegen
Very long winded.

Re: Trump v CA over Requirement to Release Tax Returns

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:57 am
by Sam the Centipede
Sterngard Friegen wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:27 pm
Very long winded.
I'm no legal scholar, but I feel that if this opinion were submitted as an essay in law school or college, it would gather many adverse comments about its prolixity. I appreciate that the justices wish to dot all the 'i's and cross all the 't's but that doesn't excuse the general flabbiness.

Perhaps the case needs more than "no, it's incompatible with the state constitution, this part, and here's why" but not this.