Thursday, November 21, 2019

Patterson v. Padilla (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Nov. 21, 2019)

I don't think it's very surprising that the California Supreme Court struck down today the challenged provisions of the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act (Elec. Code, § 6880 et seq.), which prohibit the Secretary of State from printing on a primary election ballot the name of a candidate for President of the United States who has not filed with the Secretary of State the candidate’s federal income tax returns for the five most recent taxable years.  The language of the California Constitution in that regard (article II, section 5(c)) are nontrivially to the contrary.  So you've got a unanimous decision today that largely reads as one would expect.  Nor is it surprising that the opinion's author is Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye.  That too is as it should be.

But it is interesting to see Judge Cuellar's concurrence.  He's the only person who writes separately.  And he does so to highlight why, in his view, it makes eminent sense to have presidential candidates reveal their tax returns -- and for the electorate to require as much.  All of this notwithstanding the holding in which he joins.

All good stuff.