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California Judge Throws Out Corporate Diversity Mandate

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A California judge struck down a 2020 law Friday requiring public companies to meet racial or sexual minority quotas for their board of directors.

Conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch sued California on behalf of three taxpayers in October 2020 to block the enforcement of Assembly Bill 979, which required publicly-held corporations to give positions on its board of directors to members of “underrepresented communities,” including those who identify as a racial minority or gay, lesbian or transgender. The law levies penalties against companies who fail to comply with the requirements.

Judicial Watch alleged that taxpayer funding of the bill was illegal under the state constitution as the bill discriminates on the basis of race or sexual preference, and that enforcement of the law through compiling and reporting demographic data would have created an ongoing cost for taxpayers in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A California district judge found the law to be unconstitutional in a Friday ruling.

“This historic California court decision declared unconstitutional one of the most blatant and significant attacks in the modern era on constitutional prohibitions against discrimination,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement.

“In its ruling today, the court upheld the core American value of equal protection under the law. Judicial Watch’s taxpayer clients are heroes for standing up for civil rights against the Left’s pernicious efforts to undo anti-discrimination protections,” Fitton continued.

California’s push for racial and LGBT quotas came amid a broader corporate campaign to bring more minorities into corporate leadership positions, such as the NASDAQ stock exchange’s attempt to require companies to have at least two board directors who were female, LGBT or a racial or ethnic minority.

Judicial Watch did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for further comment.

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