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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Trump should never surrender his private income tax forms

Trump Tax Protest
Protesters gather in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles to demand that President Trump release his tax returns.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I am surprised that a distinguished legal scholar like Erwin Chemerinsky would defend California’s new law requiring presidential candidates to disclose their income tax returns to appear on the primary ballot.

Chemerinsky ignores the fact that an income tax return is considered, by law, a private document. He also overlooks that it is an “income” tax return and does not reflect the value of assets, debts, property, contracts or agreements. In short, an income tax return is just for determining income taxes, not wealth or debts (to Russians or others).

President Trump has been all over the map on this, but I hope he never surrenders his income tax forms. They are private for all of us.

As for the California legislation and New York’s law on turning over state income tax forms to Congress, they will be conclusively rejected by the courts. Not much doubt.

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William N. Hoke, Manhattan Beach

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To the editor: Chemerinsky knows far more about the law than I do, but he is ignoring the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court justices have repeatedly been willing to skew their reasoning to fit the outcome they desire.

In this case, as the L.A. Times Editorial Board has pointed out, there are perfectly sensible arguments against the new law, and its blatantly partisan nature is unlikely to encourage even the most sympathetic jurist to support it.

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But the law is unlikely to reach the high court. I predict that it will be quickly struck down in the first venue it reaches, and its failure will then be used as ammunition against more reasonable approaches.

Gov. Gavin Newsom should have followed his predecessor Jerry Brown’s lead and vetoed this foolishness.

Geoff Kuenning, Claremont


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