Judge slaps down exclusion of Larry Elder from California recall ballot
Larry Elder now has the de facto endorsement of the state's Democrat establishment as the candidate they fear the most, thanks to California secretary of state Shirley Weber, appointed by Gavin Newsom in December. Weber's "clumsy effort" to exclude Elder was explained yesterday on these pages by Andrea Widburg, and it was so inept that it took Superior Court judge Laurie M. Earl little time to throw it out Wednesday and order Elder onto the ballot. The AP explains:
Under a new requirement, candidates for California governor must publicly release tax returns for the five most recent years to qualify for the ballot. The rule was passed in an effort by Democrats to force then-President Donald Trump to release his tax returns during the 2020 election. A court struck down the presidential requirement but left it in place for gubernatorial candidates.
But the judge determined the rule didn't apply to recall elections and, even if it did, Elder substantially complied.
"I don't find that Mr. Elder was required to file tax returns at all," the judge said.
Elder tweeted out a joyous double thumbs-up:
California GOP super-lawyer Harmeet Dhillon explained in more detail in a series of tweets:
Kudos to my @dhillonlaw colleague @MarkMeuser for winning a case against the state by knowing when to shut up & when to say a couple of important sentences about the right to seek attorney fees when a taxpayer/voter interest is vindicated. Steve Baric argued well for @larryelder.— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) July 21, 2021
2/ Judge opens hearing with a tenative ruling that the tax return disclosure requirement doesn't seem to apply to recall elections, and if it did, Larry Elder substantially complied with it.— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) July 21, 2021
3/ Elder's lawyer Steve Baric says even if the statute applied, Larry Elder's alleged sin was providing seven pages of COMPLETE documents to the SOS, but those documents were not in the pile of hundreds of pages of redacted documents. He complied with the statute.— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) July 21, 202
4/ Elder provided over 300 pages of personal AND CORPORATE documents to the state. Also redaction portion of the statute is there to protect the CANDIDATE's privacy, why does the state care? Form over substance.— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) July 21, 2021
7/ Judge pushes back on interpretation of Election Code Section 1189.2 -- Tax returns would have to have been filed weeks ago to meet the literal language of the statute the SOS claims applies -- it makes no sense and it isn't consistent with a recall election.— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) July 21, 2021
9/ Court rules the tax return obligation should not have been required. Thus the SOS is ordered to include Larry Elder on the ballot.— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) July 21, 2021
Photo credit: Twitter screeen grab (cropped).