By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) Legal watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed suit against California on behalf of three taxpayers over the state’s effort to dictate the gender makeup of corporate boards, arguing that lawmakers have no authority to make such determinations for a private business.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, seeks to halt implementation of Senate Bill 826, which requires publicly held corporations headquartered in the state to have at least one director “who self-identifies her gender as a woman.” Depending on the size of the board, the law would mandate as many as three self-identifying women.
The suit,Â Robin Crest et al v. Alex Padilla, claims that mandate would be unconstitutional.
“There are currently 761 publicly-traded corporations headquartered in California, the vast majority of which are subject to the legislationâ€™s provisions. In a July 1, 2019, report, the secretary of state identified 537 corporations that fall short of the mandate,” Judicial Watch noted, as reported byÂ WorldNetDaily.
In addition to the suit, an analysis on behalf of the California Legislature also found that the law would create a “quota-like system.”
That report explained the bill, if enacted into law, would likely be challenged on equal protection grounds, WND noted.
â€œThe use of a quota-like system, as proposed by this bill, to remedy past discrimination and differences in opportunity may be difficult to defend,” the report said.
However, Then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed it anyway, claiming that recent events â€œin Washington, D.C. â€“ and beyond â€“ make it crystal clear that many are not getting the message.â€
The lawsuit explains the requirement is only for someone who â€œself-identifiesâ€ as female, meaning a man who says he is a woman would qualify.
The Judicial Watch suit seeks to block implementation of the law.
â€œSB 826 is illegal under the California Constitution. The legislationâ€™s quota system for female representation on corporate boards employs express gender classifications. As a result, SB 826 is immediately suspect and presumptively invalid and triggers strict scrutiny review,â€ the complaint says.
The complaint also notes that California is following a trend in many European countries regarding gender quotas.
â€œCaliforniaâ€™s gender quota law is brazenly unconstitutional,â€ Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. â€œEven Gov. Brown, in signing the law, worried that it is unconstitutional. Judicial Watchâ€™s California taxpayer clients are stepping up to make sure that Californiaâ€™s Constitution, which prohibits sex discrimination, is upheld.â€
Judicial Watch noted that when Norway adopted corporate board gender quotas, the result was â€œyounger and less experienced boards â€“ and deterioration in operating performance, consistent with less capable boards.â€
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