Judicial Watch

Aid, Abet, Accessory criminal laws. 18 U.S.C. § 2, 3

Anti-Trump California Tries to Unconstitutionally Mess with Presidential Election – Judicial Watch Sues
From: Tom Fitton jw@pr.judicialwatch.org
Sent: Fri, Aug 9, 2019 at 5:38 pm

Across the country local politicians, prosecutors and judges are abusing their powers to target President Trump. The latest – no surprise – is the State of California, which unconstitutionally demands to see his tax returns before allowing him to appear on the presidential primary ballot.

We just filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of four California voters to prevent the California secretary of state from implementing a new state law requiring all presidential candidates who wish to appear on California’s primary ballot to publicly disclose their personal tax returns from the past five years (Jerry Griffin et al. v. Alex Padilla (No. 2:19-cv-01477). 

The suit argues that the law unconstitutionally adds a new qualification for candidates for president. Our clients include a registered Independent, Republican, and Democrat California voter. 
Under the law, known as the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, candidates who do not publicly disclose their tax returns are barred from having their names printed on California’s primary ballots. We argue that SB 27 imposes candidate qualifications beyond those allowed by the U.S. Constitution and impermissibly burdens a voters’ expressive constitutional and statutory rights. The lawsuit claims violations of the U.S. Constitution’s Qualifications Clause, the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1988.
During the 2017-2018 legislative session, then-Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a previous version of this law, which California’s Legislative Counsel concluded “would be unconstitutional if enacted.” In vetoing the 2017-18 tax return law, Brown noted:
First, it may not be constitutional. Second, it sets a “slippery slope” precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power? A qualified candidate’s ability to appear on the ballot is fundamental to our democratic system. For that reason, I hesitate to start down a road that well might lead to an ever escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.
Our complaint further alleges the political nature of the law, which is totally divorced from the states’ legitimate constitutional role in administering and establishing procedures for conducting federal elections:

None of the interests proffered by the California legislature for requiring the disclosure of candidates’ tax returns is related to election procedure or administration. Rather, the stated interests incorporate particular, substantive judgments about what is most important for voters to know when considering a candidate, how voters should go about “estimate[ing] the risk” of a candidate “engaging in corruption,” and what might assist law enforcement in detecting violations of the Emoluments Clause and crimes “such as insider trading.”

Unless SB 27 is enjoined, states will assume the power to create their own qualifications for national candidates seeking to obtain a party’s nomination for president. This could lead to as many as 50 distinct and possibly inconsistent sets of qualifications regarding the only national election in the United States. Using rationales similar to California’s, states might come to demand medical records, mental health records, sealed juvenile records, driving records, results of intelligence, aptitude, or personality tests, college applications, Amazon purchases, Google search histories, browsing histories, or Facebook friends.
In their zeal to attack President Trump, California politicians passed a law that unconstitutionally victimizes California voters. A state can’t amend the U.S. Constitution by adding qualifications to run for president, and the courts can’t stop this abusive law fast enough.

All criminal acts included in the above fall within the Federal Aid, Abet, Accessory criminal laws. Check out this column.