Politics

California to appeal Trump tax return decision

Ruling blocks state law requiring release of taxes

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Gov. Gavin Newsom informed a federal court on Tuesday that he will appeal its decision barring the enforcement of the state's law that requires presidential candidates to disclose income tax returns before their names can appear on the state's primary ballot.

The appeal, which will be filed with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, comes after a federal judge blocked the law from going into effect last week, in a win for President Donald Trump.

CNN has reached out to Newsom's office for comment.

Last week, US District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. of the Eastern District of California wrote that "while this Court understands and empathizes with the motivations that prompted California" to pass the law, "the Act's provisions likely violate the Constitution and the laws of the United States." England noted that it is not the court's role "to decide whether a tax return disclosure requirement is good policy or makes political sense."

The judge said the law would set a dangerous precedent and become a slippery slope for other kinds of disclosures. He also said it presents a "troubling minefield " that would permit a state to make its own demands.

In a ruling from the bench last month, England, a George W. Bush appointee, had signaled he was inclined to rule in favor of Trump.

Newsom is joined on the appeal by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who had announced last week that he would challenge the judge's decision.

"California will appeal this ruling and we will continue to make our thorough, thoughtful argument for stronger financial disclosure requirements for presidential and gubernatorial candidates," Padilla said in a statement last week, adding that the law is "fundamental to preserving and protecting American democracy."

Newsom and Padilla are filing the appeal in response to all five cases that were subject to the judge's ruling, according to a court filing received Tuesday.

One of the challenges was the lawsuit Trump filed against the state in August in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California. Trump's lawyer William Consovoy argued that the law adds an "unconstitutional qualification" to the fixed set of qualifications for the presidency set forward in the Constitution and violates the First Amendment, according to the lawsuit.

Newsom responded to Trump's challenge, tweeting at the time, "There's an easy fix Mr. President -- release your tax returns as you promised during the campaign and follow the precedent of every president since 1973."

A similar lawsuit was filed by Republican voters along with the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of California, arguing that this a political maneuver that takes voting rights away from Trump's supporters.

Newsom signed the state's Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act in July.

"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," he said in a statement at the time.


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