Pundits hammer Democrats after Trump tax law thrown out

California Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye appeared incredulous in her decision about the law’s plain conflict with the California Constitution.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and fellow Democratic lawmakers have expressed no contrition for their failed attempt to force President Donald Trump to release five years of tax returns to gain access to the California ballot in the 2020 general election.

The California Supreme Court recently ruled unanimously that Senate Bill 27, signed by Newsom in July, violated the state Constitution. The opinion by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye at times had an incredulous tone, noting that advocates appeared unaware of SB27’s obvious conflict with Proposition 4. That’s a 1972 amendment to the California Constitution easily passed by state voters that requires presidential primaries must be open to all “recognized” candidates.

Further reflecting the state high court’s view that the law was frivolous, the unanimous verdict was delivered just 15 days after justices heard testimony in the case. Court watchers said that was highly unusual.

A federal judge had already ruled the law violated the U.S. Constitution in September. That decision was appealed by Secretary of State Alex Padilla, but the appeal was dropped after the state Supreme Court’s ruling.

Nevertheless, a spokesman for Newsom continued to depict the now-void law as well-intentioned.

Jesse Melgar told the San Francisco Chronicle that the governor “would continue to urge all candidates to voluntarily release their tax returns. … Congress and other states can and should take action to require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.”

Padilla issued a statement expressing disappointment with the state high court’s decision but also declaring “the movement for greater transparency will endure. The history of our democracy is on the side of more transparency, not less.”

‘Ridiculous’ bill said to reflect ‘arrogance and hypocrisy’

Defenses of the law were scoffed at by opinion writers.

The Sacramento Bee editorial board – which had ripped SB27 as “silly and destructive” when Newsom signed it into law – wrote that the measure  “was so ridiculous and flawed that even California’s justices could barely conceal their disdain.” 

The Southern California Newspaper Group’s editorial noted that the state high court “quoted former Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of a similar bill in 2017: ‘Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards?’

“Democratic lawmakers and a new governor refused to learn from that message. They tried again and embarrassed themselves. They richly deserved the court’s smackdown.”

The Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote that the tax-returns law “accomplished only one thing: giving Trump more ammunition against the state he loves to mock.”

Times columnist George Skelton was the harshest critic of all, noting that many of the Democrats who claimed the moral high ground in backing the tax-returns requirement were not transparent about their own finances.

“This is not about whether Trump should release his federal tax returns,” he wrote. “Rather, it’s about Democrats enacting a blatantly unconstitutional law with a straight face for purely political reasons. It’s about arrogance and hypocrisy.”

Part of SB27 that was reportedly included at Newsom’s behest remains intact. It’s the requirement that gubernatorial candidates provide five years of tax returns to qualify for the ballot beginning with the 2022 election.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. It passed in Senate on a 29-10 vote and in the Assembly on a 57-17 vote in early July.


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  1. Ed Ryan
    Ed Ryan 8 December, 2019, 16:38

    Bloomberg’s Buying Power Destroys government for The People By The People

    American voters want clean democracy.Deval Patrick tran Massachusetts Government for 8 years without hint of corruption. deval Patrick will totally defeat Trump in November.Deval Patrick should go to Capital hill this week and meet with Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Gerry Nadler to help lead the Trump impeachment. Certainly Deval Patrick has the support of President Obama in any effort to join with Congressional leaders as the trump impeachment shifts into high gear. Deval Patrick’s is in the tradition of the Obama good government way to govern .
    We will see whether the Constitution and the rule of law prevail in America or whether a band of self-serving, treacherous men succeed in a propaganda war against the facts. And those facts are that Trump has abused his presidential power flagrantly and with arrogance. He not only involved himself in trying to cheat & corrupt the outcome of 2016’s election but has tried again to do the same for 2020 through bribery and intimidation of foreign governments. And he masterminded and led the campaign to do so. We have no kings. It is yet to be determined how important Americans know or believe that is. No man is above the law. Deval Patrick is a leader with high moral character.. Deval Patrick will defeat the corruption that American Oligarchs liked Bloomberg do onto our democracy, Bloomberg insults American voters as he tries to buy political power. His actions attack the principle of government by the people for the people.

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  2. Ed Ryan
    Ed Ryan 8 December, 2019, 17:44

    Deval Patrick and Obama igniting “Audacious Hope” globally, defeating Oligarchs like Bloomberg Globally This whole thing is why people don’t trust politicians. No matter the political party, they find a way to connect because of who they know and get money because of it. It is just different kinds of levels of corruption, and millions of dollars. It is like, it all rises to the top. Those in this country who are eligible to vote should just get behind Former MA Governor, Deval Patrick and we could have some normal government going forward the next four years, if he could win the nomination for the Democratic Party, and then the election next November. I don’t know how much more of this the general public can take. Patrick should agree that Bloomberg is an Oligarch Autocrat trying to pose as a Democrat. Bloomberg and his Oligarch ilk, people like Bill Gates, Musk and Steyer should stop corrupting the process by purchasing political power. Don’t they know Americans are outraged that their government is being bought by on percenters. Right now, 73 percent of the US senate is owned by multi-millionaires. The entire Supreme Court and the Executive branch owned by the rich. the tenants of “reformed capitalism” need to be developed and invoked by uncorrupt leaders like Deval Patrick. reformed Capitalism is about re-creating the American economic system to allow wealth for all and not just the few. Stopping the concentration of wealth by oligarchs require reasonable ‘income capping”. Radical increasing the money supply and massive expansion of housing by government construction and substantial tax credits to all Americans making less than 100 thousand will put money in the hands of those who need it. Modern technological improvements radically increase American and global production ability to prevent inflation. Deval Patrick has Obama Audacity when it comes to the future. Third world infrastructure modernization by global production power houses like China, Russia and America will pave the way for a future “ Global Democracy” The 5th Street Emporium” a J.Bond-Austin Progressive Think tank is issuing the ”2020 Global Collective Consortium Strategies” This report points the finger at the 200 hundred separate “one percenter” structures that imbed as an elite power or shot caller in every country on earth. As in America and everywhere these are the few who buy power then Day security costs to keep it. They now act to insure that millions of people will be murdered by abject global poverty, Deval Patrick is a man of the people and understands that ‘One World Government” free and democratic is possible. This is the logical way to provide good lives to all global citizens. In a world with no “military industrial Complex” all resources and production go to the people. The separate oligarchs do everything possible to prevent this because it threatens their power system. Economics of scale verifies that one world government is the rational evolution. But this is stopped by Oligarchs like Bloomberg, sick with greed. But they are the few, we are the many. Bottom line, Deval Patrick can lead in that direction by becoming president so that oligarchs like Mayor Bloomberg and Bill Gates can be stopped from their power grab. If any of these oligarchs truly cared about humankind, they would check out the 5th street Emporium’s 2020 Report report. mail me at [email protected] I’ll get you to speed. Prove that your mind is not totally hindered by greed. Thank you, Ed Ryan,

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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