Judge blocks law by state Sen. Mike McGuire aimed at President Trump’s tax returns

SACRAMENTO - A U.S. judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a California law aimed at forcing President Donald Trump to release his personal income tax returns in order to appear on the 2020 primary ballot.

U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. issued a written opinion saying the law, which was cosponsored by state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, likely violates the U.S. Constitution.

The law requires candidates for president or governor to file copies of their personal income tax returns dating back five years with the California secretary of state’s office. If they refuse, they could not appear on the state’s primary ballot. The law would not have applied to general elections.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said he signed the law because California has a “special responsibility” to hold candidates to high ethical standards. The Trump campaign sued, arguing the law seeks to add another qualification for running for president, something state governments don’t have the authority to do.

In his ruling, England wrote the state’s concerns are “both legitimate and understandable,” highlighting that candidates have offered “unnecessary and irrelevant excuses for shielding the public from such information.”

“It is not the job of the courts, however, to decide whether a tax return disclosure requirement is good policy or makes political sense,” wrote England, who was appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said he will appeal the ruling.

McGuire criticized Tuesday’s ruling.

“The judge got it wrong. Some of the brightest constitutional minds in the nation have been very clear that this law will withstand a constitutional test.”

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