SACRAMENTO, CA – Friday, August 9, 2019, Justice Morrison C. England orders three cases against the State of California be related. These cases are: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., et al. v Alex Padilla, et al., Melissa Melendez, et al. v Gavin Newsom, et al., Jeffrey S. Koeniq v. Gavin Christopher Newsom, et al., and Jerry Griffin, et al., v Alex Padilla. You can read the order here and here. There are 2 orders relating a total of 4 cases.
A judical order making these cases related means that they cases may be assigned to one judge or district and that they will be coordinate. (explained here)
Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., et al. v Alex Padilla is reviewed in the first article here. Two of the other cases, Jeffrey S. Koeniq v Gavin Christopher Newsom, et al., and Jerry Griffin, et al., v Alex Padilla all use the same constitutional arguments and file a complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief.
All 3 cases state SB27 (law signed in CA requiring candidates for Presidential Primary must disclose 5 years of federal tax returns in order to be on the ballot) violate the Qualifications Clause and 42 U.S.C, violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Griffin v Padilla complaint states the voters who brought the lawsuit are 4 registered Republican voters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Yolo counties.
Their complaint states that SB27 imposes candidate qualifications beyond those allowed by the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, “SB 27 provides that ‘notwithstanding any other law, the Secretary of State shall not print the name of a candidate for President of the United States on a primary election ballot, unless the candidate’ timely discloses his or her tax returns.”
Griffin’s et al complaint gives background that “the United States ratified the Sixteenth Amendment authorizing the federal income tax in 1913.” “Since 1913, voters have cast their ballots in 26 presidential elections in which no state or federal laws required presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.” Not all presidents have provided their tax returns. “In 1976, President Gerald Ford released only a summary of his tax returns. One study found that 7 of 34 ‘major’ candidates for president since 1976, or about 20% refused to produce their tax returns.” In fact, then-candidate Jerry Brown, “who was then Bill Clinton’s closest rival, did not release his tax returns.” “In 2000, third-party candidate Ralph Nader did not disclose his tax returns.”
In the current group of candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination, there are four who have not disclosed their tax returns. They are “former Vice-President Joe Biden, former-Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs Julian Castro, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang”.
The Griffin complaint also states, “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 reationales similair to California’s, states might come to deman 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.”
Griffin et al state “Plaintiffs have a First Amendment right to associate with candidates who choose their privacy by declining to release their tax returns, and to associate with voters who prefer such candidates.”
The Koenig v Newsom complaint has all the same constitutional points. However, his complaint states some of the information in different terms. Koenig references the political nature of SB 27. “The Trump Ballot Act is not an ‘even handed,’ ‘neutral,’ or ‘unbiased statutory vehicle to obtain important information voters might need to assess presidential candidates in pre-election primaries. The superficial appearance of uniform application to primary candidates from all eligible political parties is a ruse. By imposing an unconstitutional condition impacting the primary ballot access of the incumbent President of the United States, the Trump Ballot Act’s true intent and purpose is to suppress the vote of Trump supporters in California, up and down the line, effectively disenfranchising them in the 2020 presidential primary election.”
Koenig’s complaint also states that “Mr. Koenig’s right, as a citizen, to vote free from arbitrary impairment by state action is judicially recognized as a constitutional right under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”
Both Koenig’s and Griffin’s complaint ask for the court to declare that SB 27 is unconstitutional, and allow for the defendants to pay for reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.
To read the full complaint from Griffin, please click here.
To read the full complain from Koenig, please click here.
The last case, Melendez v Newsom has not been released on RECAP and cannot be reviewed at this time.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.