CAL MATTERS-Legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom primarily aimed at requiring Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns before being placed on the March 3 primary ballot appears to be in jeopardy.
All seven California Supreme Court justices pointedly questioned Deputy Attorney General Jay Russell, as he sought to defend the Democratic-backed legislation in oral arguments in Sacramento on Wednesday. (Photo above: Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye at oral arguments over California’s attempt to force Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns (photo by Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Justice Ming Chin: “Where does it end? Do we get all high school report cards? Do we get certified birth certificates? Do we get five years of medical records?”
- Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation in 2017, warning that other states might require birth certificates, health records, or high school report cards.
- Newsom said upon signing the bill in July: “The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interests.”
Sacramento attorney Thomas Hiltachk, representing California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson, argued Senate Bill 27 violates the U.S. Constitution, and a 1972 state constitutional amendment that says the primary ballot must include all recognized presidential candidates.
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye asked Russell: ”We’ve searched the record to determine whether or not the California Legislature even considered the California Constitution in the drafting of SB 27. We didn’t find anything. Did you?”
What’s next: The justices must act within 90 days. If the GOP prevails, its attorneys will seek attorneys fees. A separate suit over the law is pending in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
(This piece was posted originally at CalMatters.org.)