Judicial Watch Victories: California Court of Appeal Upholds Court Injunctions against Quotas for Corporate Boards
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the California Court of Appeal has upheld two injunctions against California quota requirements for corporate boards. Earlier this year, two California trial courts had found (here and here) unconstitutional state quota mandates for sex, race, ethnicity, and LGBT status. On December 1, 2022, the California Court of Appeal denied (here and here) two separate emergency requests by the California Secretary of State to lift the injunctions.
“The California courts again have 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. Judicial Watch’s legal team has helped protect the civil rights of every American with these successful lawsuits,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Judicial Watch filed a gender quota lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2019 on behalf of three California taxpayers. The lawsuit challenged a 2018 law, Senate Bill 826 (SB 826), which mandated every publicly held corporation headquartered in California to have at least one director “who self-identifies her gender as a woman” on its board of directors. Judicial Watch successfully argued that the quota for women on corporate boards violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution. In May 2022, after a 28-day trial, the Superior Court delivered its verdict finding that “S.B. 826’s goal was to achieve general equity or parity; its goal was not to boost California’s economy, not to improve opportunities for women in the workplace nor not to protect California taxpayers, public employees, pensions and retirees.”
In 2020, Judicial Watch filed a separate taxpayer lawsuit challenging Assembly Bill 979 (AB 979), which Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law on September 30, 2020. The bill mandated boards of directors of California-based, publicly held domestic or foreign corporations to satisfy racial, ethnicity, sexual preference and transgender status quotas.
The Judicial Watch lawsuit successfully asked the Superior Court to declare the diversity quota scheme unconstitutional under California’s equal protection guarantee and to permanently enjoin its enforcement. On April 1, 2022, the Superior Court issued a ruling and opinion striking down AB 979’s diversity quotas and granting a permanent injunction in favor of Judicial Watch’s taxpayer clients enjoining the state from implementing the statute.