Democrats have been obsessed with getting their hands on President Donald Trump’s tax returns since before he even moved into the White House — but it doesn’t look like they’ll be succeeding in that effort any time soon.
California recently passed a law that would have required Trump to release his tax returns in order to appear on the state’s primary ballot in 2020, but a federal judge just issued an injunction to block that law from taking effect.
Judge issues temporary injunction
Fox News reported that U.S. District Judge Morrison England, Jr., an appointee of President George W. Bush, issued the injunction in order to prevent “irreparable harm without temporary relief” that could be inflicted on any candidate — not just Trump — if the law were to be enforced.
The judge noted that he would issue a final ruling on the merits of the case by the end of the month. But it is almost certain that the injunction and final ruling will be appealed.
At issue is a bill known as SB 27, which was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in July. The measure would require any candidate running for governor or president to submit to the state the previous five years of their tax returns in order to be eligible to appear on the 2020 primary ballot.
Supporters of the law claimed it was merely intended to increase transparency among candidates, but critics argued that it was aimed specifically at President Trump, would serve to depress turnout among Republican voters in primary elections, and would set a dangerous precedent going forward — on top of being blatantly unconstitutional.
Targeting Trump’s tax returns
“We are encouraged that the federal court has tentatively concluded that a preliminary injunction should be granted. We look forward to the court’s written order,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said of the ruling in a statement, according to The Hill.
He went on: “It remains our position that the law is unconstitutional because states are not permitted to add additional requirements for candidates for president, and that the law violated citizens’ First Amendment right of association.”
Fox reported that the court hearing on Thursday was actually a consolidation of five separate lawsuits filed against the state law, with Trump’s suit being the most high-profile of the bunch.
“The elephant in the room is President Trump’s tax returns — that’s what this is about,” Judge England said at one point in the hearing. “But it does have implications that are far-reaching.”
Setting a dangerous precedent
Those far-reaching implications include the fact that, if the demand for tax returns to be handed over was allowed to stand, it would set a precedent that could lead to states demanding other information as prerequisites for appearing on a ballot, such as medical records or college transcripts or other generally confidential and private information.
While this attempt by Democrats to garner Trump’s tax returns may have been blocked for now, the fight continues on as a prosecutor in New York has subpoenaed Trump’s returns from an accounting firm used by the Trump Organization. Meanwhile, Democrats in Washington aren’t giving up, either.