Federal judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns

A federal judge issued a temporary injunction against a California state law that requires presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns to appear on the primary ballot.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE's lawyers and the Republican National Committee had challenged the law.

U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr., a George W. Bush appointee on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, said there would be "irreparable harm without temporary relief" for Trump and other candidates if he did not make the rare temporary decision to block the law, The Los Angeles Times reported.


The California law, which was signed by Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg would support delaying Libra | More attorneys general join Facebook probe | Defense chief recuses from 'war cloud' contract | Senate GOP blocks two election security bills | FTC brings case against 'stalking' app developer Facebook investing B to tackle affordable housing crisis in California PG&E notifies 200K customers of potential second planned blackout MORE (D), requires candidates for president or governor to provide five years of federal tax returns to appear on the state's primary ballot.

The judge's decision came after a hearing on Thursday in Sacramento on consolidated arguments made in five lawsuits over the California law. During the hearing, England focused on the issue of whether a federal financial disclosure law preempts states from imposing additional rules, the Times reported.

A lawyer for California argued that different states already have different rules for their primary elections, while a lawyer for Trump argued that the U.S. Constitution established rules for running for president that states cannot alter, according to the Times.

Trump attorney Jay SekulowJay Alan SekulowMulvaney faces uncertain future after public gaffes The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's impeachment jeopardy deepens Mulvaney admission deals blow to White House impeachment defense MORE praised the judge's decision.

“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," he said in a statement. "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’ 1st Amendment right of association."

The injunction will likely be appealed by state officials.

Trump is the first president in decades who hasn't voluntarily released any of his tax returns. He has said he won't do so while he's under audit, though the IRS has said that audits don't prevent people from releasing their tax information.

Trump has filed many lawsuits in an effort to prevent his tax returns from being disclosed. Earlier on Thursday, he filed a lawsuit to block a subpoena the Manhattan District Attorney's Office issued to his accounting firm for his tax returns and other financial records.

Updated at 5:49 p.m.

Morgan Chalfant contributed.