In a broadside against President Donald Trump and the United States Constitution, Democrats in California’s Senate have passed new qualifications on who may run for president in that state. Designed to force Donald Trump to publicly disclose his tax returns, the law prohibits the secretary of state from printing a candidate’s name on the ballot unless that candidate produces a copy of every income tax return they filed with the IRS in the five most recent taxable years. Bill 27 passed through the state Senate in a straight party line vote of 27-10, and has been submitted to the House for consideration.
Is It Constitutional?
The U.S. Constitution’s Article II establishes qualifications on who may be elected president and describes the mechanics of how the president shall be chosen via the electoral college. California’s senatorial foray into frustrating Donald Trump’s political career does not include an attempt to unilaterally amend or supplant the Constitution. How can they introduce new qualifications for president, then?
Authors of the legislation use a fig leaf to cover their immodesty. The new law forbids the California secretary of state from printing a candidate’s name on the ballot if the required tax returns have not been supplied. The candidate may still run though, and people may still vote for them – by write-in ballot – in a laughable sop to sticklers for the right to vote and run for office, consistent with the Constitution.
Is this rule constitutional? Aside from any jurist on the Ninth Circus, the answer is no. Don’t take my word for it though; the California Office of Legislative Counsel itself stated that the legislation violates the constitution. Keep in mind, this is the non-partisan law firm created by the legislature to serve it by providing bill drafting services, preparing legal opinions, and other confidential legal services to the Legislature. No matter – when dealing with such an existential threat like Trump, you must break a few eggs.
A Political Ploy
Donald Trump has been criticized roundly for declining to release his tax returns to the press. His political opponents have been unable to generate much traction in selling the idea that this is scandalous or disqualifying; if enough Americans thought such an omission in the candidate’s record was a disqualifier, nature would take its course. The public is not cooperating with the plan, so drastic times call for drastic Democrats.
This is little other than an attempt to publish information politically damaging to the president. Democrats suspect, with good reason, that there are many years where Trump’s tax rate was exceedingly low or even zero. Exposing this would hurt his re-election efforts. That, however, would be unwise to proclaim as a motivation for the new law. Instead, the California Senate has gone with the lie that the returns are needed to find out if the candidate is compromised:
The Legislature also finds and declares that a Presidential candidate’s income tax returns provide voters with essential information regarding the candidate’s potential conflicts of interest, business dealings, financial status, and charitable donations.
…drastic times call for drastic Democrats.
Left coast Democrats are particularly susceptible to the most virulent strains of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Let’s pray the republic can withstand the seizures and fever dreams of its sufferers.
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