California Surrenders Defense of Presidential Tax Return Law

Nov. 22, 2019, 6:53 PM

California is giving up on defending a law that would require President Donald Trump and other presidential candidates to release their tax returns to appear on the 2020 primary ballot.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal to dismiss lawsuits from President Donald Trump, his campaign, and four other candidates or voters who sued in federal court to stop the law. Democratic lawmakers enacted the law in July as a way to compel Trump to release his returns.

Becerra made the request within hours of the California Supreme Court’s ruling Nov. 21 that the law violates the state Constitution. The ruling came in time for Trump to avoid missing the Nov. 26 filing deadline for the March 3 California primary.

“Due to the California Supreme Court’s final judgment, the act is unenforceable insofar as it applies to presidential candidates, regardless of whether the act might also violate the federal constitution in any respect,” Becerra said in the Nov. 21 filing. “Accordingly, there is no live case or controversy in these consolidated appeals or the underlying district court proceedings.”

The case is Griffin v. Padilla, 9th Cir., No. 19-17000, motion to dismiss 11/21/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Mahoney in Sacramento, Calif. at lmahoney@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com; Sony Kassam at skassam1@bloombergtax.com

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