New Jersey Legislature Passes Bill Requiring Presidential Candidates in General Elections to Submit Copies of Income Tax Returns

On March 16, the New Jersey legislature passed SB 3048, which adds a ballot access restriction for presidential candidates in the general election. Presidential candidates must file copies of their personal income taxes for the proceding five years, or they cannot have their names on the ballot. Also, presidential electors are not permitted to vote for anyone for president who has not filed his or her income tax returns.
Here is a copy of the bill. Most observers expect the bill to be vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. If it becomes law, it will almost surely be challenged in court. The U.S. Supreme Court already ruled in U.S. Term Limits v Thornton that neither states, nor Congress, may add to the U.S. constitutional requirements for eligibility for congress, which include age and residency. The Constitution also has age and residency requirements for president. The argument that the states can add qualifications for president, but not Congress, is not logically consistent nor convincing.

In 1992 the Texas Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Lyndon LaRouche could not be kept off the Democratic presidential primary just because because he was a felon.

The part of the bill that tells presidential electors whom they can or cannot vote for will stand or fall on the four pending federal lawsuits filed by Democratic presidential electors last year, over whether they had the right to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton in the electoral college in December.


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New Jersey Legislature Passes Bill Requiring Presidential Candidates in General Elections to Submit Copies of Income Tax Returns — 1 Comment

  1. I wonder how many members of the NJ legislature are prepared to submit briefs in support of the position that this law is consitutionally permissible? Being a taxpayer is not one of the qualifications that are listed in Article II — qualifications for serving as President, just age, cirizenship, and residence.
    The Supreme Court has already said that the qualifications clauses in Article I are “exhaustive,” so no state can add a qualification such as serving only twelve years in one federal office. It will take either a constitutional amendment or a change-of-interpretation by the Supremes to allow states to adopt term limits. The same legal logic would apply to having a new requirement to qualify for the presidency.

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