by William Teach | March 18, 2017 7:40 am
The Sore Loser Symphony travels to New Jersey
(The Hill) New Jersey lawmakers this week passed legislation that would force any presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose their federal tax returns in order to appear on the state’s ballots starting in 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The bill was approved in the Democratic-controlled state legislature along party lines and awaits a signature from Gov. Chris Christie, an ally of President Trump. Christie’s office has not yet made an official statement on the legislation.
The bill was inspired by Trump, who refused to release his tax returns on the campaign trail and since entering office, breaking with years of election tradition.
If the bill is enacted, Electoral College voters wouldn’t be able to cast a vote for any candidate who didn’t disclose their tax returns.
First, it is doubtful that Christie will sign this, unless there is some bad blood between Trump and himself. So, we’ll see.
Second, is this Constitutional? NJ is not the only state looking to pass legislation like this, Democrats are also giving it a whirl in New Mexico, Hawaii, Oregon and California. Certainly, States can specify the terms of their electors, up to a point. However, the Constitution does state specifically who can be president
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
So, a natural born citizen and at least 35. Nothing about having to release taxes. As Kyle Sammin wrote a little over a week ago on the subject, states might ignore the Constitution, but, the courts won’t (though, I wouldn’t be too sure of that, since leftists on the courts care little for the Constitution).
Arkansas was one of those states, and the law they passed quickly found its way into court. The case, U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, was appealed to the Supreme Court, which held that the term limits were unconstitutional. The opinion by Justice John Paul Stevens cut right to the logical inconsistency of states altering the qualifications for federal offices.
[A]s the Framers recognized, electing representatives to the National Legislature was a new right, arising from the Constitution itself. The Tenth Amendment thus provides no basis for concluding that the States possess reserved power to add qualifications to those that are fixed in the Constitution. Instead, any state power to set the qualifications for membership in Congress must derive not from the reserved powers of state sovereignty, but rather from the delegated powers of national sovereignty. In the absence of any constitutional delegation to the States of power to add qualifications to those enumerated in the Constitution, such a power does not exist.
As Stevens found in a later case on the same topic, states may be charged with administering federal elections, but they may not use that power to impose policy choices that the Constitution does not contain. Even beyond the historical precedent, the reason for this is obvious. If each state determines on its own who may be elected to federal office, the Congress would no longer be a truly federal legislature. It would revert instead to the confederal legislature created by the Articles of Confederation.
This is in terms of states attempting to impose term limits on Congress, but, it applies here as well. Notice this part: “The Tenth Amendment thus provides no basis for concluding that the States possess reserved power to add qualifications to those that are fixed in the Constitution.”
Anyhow, you go with your Sore Loser Symphony, Liberals.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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