President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn as he arrives at the White House, Sunday, June 30, 2019, in Washington. Trump returns from a visit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea as well as the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Here’s a bit of an update to a story I covered a few weeks back.
After California passed a law effectively keeping President Trump off their state ballot unless he released his tax returns, the Trump campaign sued. The law was a loser from the start and the judge quickly put a hold on it going into effect.
Now, he’s released his written decision and it’s an absolutely beat down for California’s unconstitutional garbage.
Federal judge finds tax return disclosure requirement for ballot access cases violates Elections Clause, First Amendment, and Equal Protection Clause https://t.co/s1pmlik0Vh
— Derek T. Muller (@derektmuller) October 1, 2019
On four different counts, the judge found the law to be unconstitutional. This was like an NFL team playing a high school team, i.e. just a total massacre. I can’t link to every line of the above article but I’ll post the summaries below.
Earlier, I noted the court suggested that California’s statute was preempted by the Ethics in Government Act. The court did make that finding. But the court also found it unconstitutional on three other bases.
First, the statute runs afoul of the Elections Clause, meaning California lacked the power to add this rule as a condition of ballot access…
Second, the court concluded it burdened the associational interests of candidates, voters, and political parties under the First Amendment…
Third, the court held that it violated the Equal Protection Clause by “distinguishing among constitutionally eligible candidates.”
If you’d like the full legal breakdown, be sure to click the link above and check it out. The author obviously knows his stuff and had this called from the beginning.
It was painfully obvious that California was going to run afoul of the constitution here. The idea that a state can arbitrarily decide to deny a citizen the right to vote for their candidate of choice is a horrible precedent to try to set. It was also sure to backfire, so perhaps California should be thanking this judge? Had this been upheld, Republican states could have put their own barriers up.
In the end though, it’s better this was shot down. We don’t need states kicking people off the ballot because they won’t play ball with whatever political delusion the party in power has at the time. People should be able to for who they want as long as they meet the constitutional requirements. Releasing tax returns, school records, medical reports, etc. are voluntary and it’s up to voters to decide how much that matters, not partisan legislators.
What’s so ironic in all this is that Democrats were cheering this on, even as they melt down over things like voter ID laws. Ask people to do something easy to prevent fraud and they set their hair on fire. Try to kick a candidate off the ballot completely, disenfranchising million, though? Well, they are all for that.
No doubt California will appeal. I’m not even sure the 9th Circuit is stupid enough to give them the green light here though.
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