Column: Requiring Trump’s tax returns under California election law is just plain petty politics

Gov. Jerry Brown was right. His successor Gavin Newsom isn’t — at least about whether a state should be allowed to dictate qualifications for a presidential candidate.

States should butt out and defer to the U.S. Constitution. It spells out simple criteria that have worked for 232 years: A president must be a natural-born citizen — meaning born a U.S. citizen — have lived in the country 14 years and be at least 35.

California’s Democrat-controlled state Legislature passed a spiteful “gotcha” bill last month that was clearly meant to punch Republican President Trump in the nose. It decrees that unless a presidential contender publicly releases five years of federal income tax returns, the candidate can’t run on the state’s primary election ballot.

Newsom gleefully signed it.

Read more from George Skelton at the LA Times