Election Law

Top California court blocks state law requiring presidential candidates to disclose tax returns

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The California Supreme Court has struck down a state law that requires presidential candidates to disclose five years of tax returns to appear on the primary ballot.

The court ruled that the law violates the state constitution, Law360 reports. The Associated Press also has coverage of the Nov. 21 unanimous decision, which would have required President Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns.

The constitutional provision at issue requires the legislature to provide for “an open presidential primary whereby the candidates on the ballot are those found by the secretary of state to be recognized candidates throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of president of the United States.”

The tax law’s additional requirement to appear on the ballot conflicts with the state constitutional requirement for an “inclusive, open presidential primary ballot”, the state supreme court said.

The court issued a writ of mandate barring the secretary of state from complying with the law with regard to presidential candidates.

The law also required gubernatorial candidates to disclose five years of tax returns. The court said it was not ruling on that requirement because the state constitutional provision deals only with the presidential primary ballot.

The California Republican Party had filed the case before the court, Patterson v. Padilla.

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