‘Show Your Taxes’—Could California Really Make Presidential Contenders Do It?


An article in the Fordham Law Review has been mentioned in a Calmatters piece about a proposed California bill by Senator Mike McGuire of Healdsburg that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns before they can appear on a California ballot.

[A]ccording to Eugene Mazo, a visiting associate professor of law at the University of Maryland, the Arizona bill was meant to prove that each candidate met the natural born citizenship qualification already enumerated in the Constitution. However misguided that effort, he said, that challenge rests on firmer constitutional ground than the California bill, which tacks on a whole new requirement for the job.


“Tax returns? That has nothing to do with what the Constitution says,” he said.


Still, in what could be yet another example of how the gentleman’s duel of American politics increasingly resembles a knife fight, John McCain, Obama, Ted Cruz and now Trump have all had their eligibility for the presidency called into question in either legislative chambers or court houses.


What all of these challenges have in common, Mazo recently wrote in the Fordham Law Review, is that they are ”mainly used to bring an issue before the public, to insinuate that the candidate did something wrong, and ultimately to gain an upper hand with voters.”


California Republicans agree.


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