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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Two Big Wins against Discrimination!

Court Declares California’s Corporate Board Gender Quotas Unconstitutional
Lawsuit against Chicago Mayor Ends Along with Her Racist Interview Policy
Census Bureau Keeps Hiring ‘Unsuitable Individuals’ with Criminal Records
Historic Judicial Watch Gerrymander Win Could Set National Precedent
Memorial Day – Why We Fight


Court Declares California’s Corporate Board Gender Quotas Unconstitutional

A big victory for us and California: A court has found California’s gender quota law for corporate boards unconstitutional. The verdict comes after a 28-day trial (Robin Crest et al. v. Alex Padilla (Case No. 19STCV27561)).

This verdict follows a similar ruling in our favor last month that found California’s diversity mandate for corporate boards unconstitutional.

We filed the gender quota lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2019 on behalf of California taxpayers Robin Crest, Earl De Vries and Judy De Vries. The lawsuit challenges a 2018 law, known as Senate Bill 826, which requires 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 by December 31, 2019.

The law also required corporations to have up to three such persons on their boards by December 31, 2021, depending on the size of the board. We argued that the quota for women on corporate boards violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution.

California Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis agreed with us and “determine[d] that SB 826 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution and is thus enjoined.”

In the court’s 23-page verdict, it specifically found 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.” Further, the court found that “putting more women on boards demonstrated that the Legislature’s actual purpose was gender-balancing, not remedying discrimination.”  “There is no Compelling Governmental interest in remedying discrimination in the board selection process because neither the Legislature nor Defendant could identify any specific, purposeful, intentional and unlawful discrimination to be remedied,” Judge Duffy-Lewis said.

Basically, what the court did was eviscerate California’s unconstitutional gender quota mandate. This is the second California court decision finding that quotas for corporate boards are unconstitutional. The radical Left’s unprecedented attacks on anti-discrimination law has suffered another stinging defeat.

Thankfully, California courts have upheld the core American value of equal protection under the law. Our taxpayer clients are heroes for standing up for civil rights against the Left’s pernicious efforts to undo anti-discrimination protections. We have helped protect the civil rights of every American with these successful lawsuits.


Lawsuit against Chicago Mayor Ends Along with Her Racist Interview Policy

We struck a blow against official racial discrimination in Chicago.

Our federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation and reporter Thomas Catenacci against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was dismissed after Lightfoot said she will not limit one-on-one interviews to “journalists of color” in the future (Catenacci et al v. Lightfoot (No. 1:21-cv-02852)).

In dismissing the case, our attorneys noted:

As testified to by her Communications Director and as stated in her motion to dismiss, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has no plans or intentions in the future to exclusively provide one-on-one interviews with journalists of color.

We filed the civil rights lawsuit against Lightfoot on May 27, 2021, after Catenacci, a white journalist, emailed Lightfoot’s office requesting a one-on-one interview with the mayor. The mayor’s office never replied to the request or to two additional follow-up emails from Catenacci. Catenacci’s request came on one of the days that the mayor admittedly was discriminating against journalists based on race.

On May 18, 2021, Mayor Lightfoot’s office informed multiple reporters that she would grant one-on-one interviews, “only to Black or Brown Journalists.” The next day, the mayor released a letter confirming her discriminatory policy.  Our lawsuit alleged that Lightfoot’s refusal to be interviewed by Catenacci was a violation of the Daily Caller News Foundation’s and his First Amendment rights and Catenacci’s right to equal protection.

On July 26, 2021, after the lawsuit was filed, Mayor Lightfoot told The New York Times that she would “absolutely” engage in racial discrimination again. When pressed on the issue by our attorneys, her spokesperson testified under oathin this lawsuit that Mayor Lightfoot promised not to engage in any more of this type of racial discrimination:

Q Okay. Have you spoken to the Mayor about whether she intends to exclusively provide one-on-one interviews with journalists of color in the future?

A Yes.

Q Okay. What did the Mayor tell you about that?

A She does not have plans to do so.

Q Does she intend to do so?

A No.

Mayor Lightfoot’s attorneys also told the court the same thing in their most recent filing.

“I’m glad that Mayor Lightfoot finally realized that her racist policy was untenable. I hope all elected officials take note of our case and think twice before issuing similar policies,” Thomas Catenacci said.

“It’s amazing and sad that we had to do this in America 2022. A government official discriminating based on race is as wrong as it gets. We are relieved that she finally relented,” Daily Caller News Foundation President Neil Patel said.

It is incredible, in this day and age, that it took a federal civil rights lawsuit to force Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to retreat from her racial discrimination against reporters.


Census Bureau Keeps Hiring ‘Unsuitable Individuals’ with Criminal Records

The federal government seems to have little or no interest in protecting you from felons it hires to conduct the census. Our Corruption Chronicles blog explains that this has gone on for years with no corrective action.

Thirteen years after a federal investigation blasted the U.S. Census Bureau for hiring criminals to enter American homes to gather statistics for the decennial count, a new audit reveals the disturbing practice continues. In fact, more than a decade after the problem was exposed workers for the 2020 count were not properly vetted and many with criminal records had direct interactions with the public. The most recent probe, conducted by the Department of Commerce Inspector General, found that “dozens of employees who worked on address canvassing in advance of the 2020 census had major issues flagged on their investigations, which typically means employees are automatically disqualified from their federal jobs.”

Chunks of the 28-page report are redacted but the gist is well conveyed, that the Census Bureau has long failed to screen its workforce and therefore endangers the public. It’s not like there isn’t a vetting system in place. When one of the 248 regional offices recruit a candidate, the Census Investigative Services (CIS) at the agency’s headquarters in Suitland, Maryland is charged with conducting a pre-employment suitability review. The process includes sending fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and a credit history as well as self-disclosed criminal record to CIS for review. Nevertheless, the Bureau still hires felons—including sex offenders—at regional offices nationwide. As an example, a few years ago the Charlotte, North Carolina Area Census Office (ACO) employed a man convicted of a felony involving sex with a child as a regional recruiting manager because despite his criminal record, he passed the Census Bureau’s background check.

The Bureau’s negligent security practices have been on the radar of federal lawmakers for years. Over a decade ago, Congressional investigators slammed the agency for failing to adequately conduct mandatory background checks for tens of thousands of workers, resulting in the hiring of hundreds of violent criminals. At the time, the probe found that more than 35,000 temporary census workers were employed without the proper criminal background check, which includes fingerprinting. That means that more than one-fifth of the canvassing workforce did not get properly processed or fully screened for employment eligibility, creating an obvious security risk. More than 200 of those were subsequently determined to have criminal records yet were in constant contact with the public while canvassing for the 2010 census. Investigators said the criminal record checks were bungled because the Census Bureau’s incompetent staff was poorly trained to conduct them.

Twelve years ago Judicial Watch reported that the Census Bureau knowingly hired a registered sex offender with a long criminal history to make home visits even though such convicts are banned from working for the agency. The embarrassing gaffe came to light when a young mother in a New Jersey suburb recognized the census worker who came to her home from the state’s registered sex offender database. She initially thought it was safe to provide the man with information because he was a legitimate government worker with a badge and bag sporting the U.S. Census Bureau’s official logo. Incredibly, the sex offender used a fake name to get the census job but failed a fingerprint check after getting hired. The agency still let him to complete four days of training and allowed him to visit homes even though he did not pass the background check.

The latest audit, released last week, shows that virtually nothing has changed after all these years and that the Bureau has done little to improve its derelict hiring practices. Investigators found that at least 6,802 census workers were not properly adjudicated, “resulting in persons with significant issues working for the Bureau and, in some instances, contacting households during the 2020 Census NRFU [Nonresponse Followup] operation.” In cases when CIS adjudicators actually vetted employees, the watchdog found that they often failed to request necessary documentation to assess the severity of the issues raised. Stressing that background checks are a critical process to help protect the nation’s interests by establishing trust in the federal workforce, the IG points out the obvious in its recent report: “The lack of oversight increases the risk of unknowingly allowing unsuitable individuals into positions of public trust, which could cause harm to the bureau.”

Historic Judicial Watch Gerrymander Win Could Set National Precedent

Mapping congressional districts to make it easier for one party to win is hardly a new practice, but lately the courts have been throttling the politicians’ schemes. Michael Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, provides an overview in Investigative Bulletin:

The judge was not pulling any punches. Siding with Judicial Watch in a challenge to a congressional redistricting plan cooked up by Democrats dominating the Maryland state legislature, Judge Lynne Battaglia—herself a Democrat—threw haymakers. The Democrat redistricting map was an “extreme partisan gerrymander.” Democrats had attempted to “suppress the voice of Republican voters.” It was drawn up with “partisanship as predominant intent.” It violated state constitutional provisions on equal protection and free speech. It subordinated “constitutional criteria to political consideration.”

It was out. Making history—for the first time, a Maryland court ruled that a congressional redistricting plan violated the state constitution—Judge Battaglia banned the use of the gerrymander map and ordered the Maryland General Assembly back to the drawing board.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton hailed the decision. “This key court victory against abusive partisan gerrymandering by Democrats in Maryland could set a national precedent,” he said. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan called it “an historic milestone.”

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit on behalf of twelve Maryland voters who objected to the state legislature’s plan and was joined at trial by a second set of plaintiffs. The argument? The gerrymandered maps diminished their right to participate in a free and fair election on an equal basis with other Maryland voters. The court agreed.

The March ruling has begun to echo through the national debate. In New York, in April, the state’s highest court rejected a new redistricting map favored by Democrats dominating state politics. The court ruled that the map violated a state prohibition on partisan gerrymandering, saying it was created with “impermissible partisan purpose.” Court observers say the Maryland case was discussed in briefings and oral arguments in New York.

In 2019, the Supreme Court rejected political gerrymandering claims brought solely under the federal Constitution. Since then, the battle over redistricting has spread to state courts throughout the country. According to experts surveyed by Judicial Watch, cases related to gerrymandering and redistricting are underway in nineteen states. Among the states are the electoral powerhouses Texas, Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio. You can read about some of the upcoming cases here.

Tough anti-gerrymandering measures are one way to start cleaning up dirty election practices, says Robert Popper, Judicial Watch’s director of voting integrity efforts. Gerrymandering is a “method of cheating [that] has been around for 200 years,” Popper told journalist Tim Pool. “If you’re a state that doesn’t have an anti-gerrymandering provision, then suddenly it’s a political issue. Why don’t you? You want districts that are ugly and screwed up for partisan advantage, you want to cheat opponents in state elections.”

In Maryland, the state legislature quickly capitulated in the face of the court ruling and signed on to a new, fairer redistricting map. In New York, redistricting has been turned over to a special master. But Popper warns of trouble in states where political gerrymandering survives, with partisan operatives possibly turning to “new, computer-generated maps” that could become “so convoluted that’s it’s effectively like you don’t have a district at all.” We’re not there yet, says Popper. “But if we don’t deal with gerrymandering, my prediction is, that’s coming.”


Memorial Day – Why We Fight

Memorial Day helps our nation focus on the ultimate sacrifice of untold numbers of fellow Americans – Americans who gave their lives to preserve and defend our God-given freedoms and our constitutional republic.

As we honor those heroes, I’d like to draw your attention again to the Veterans Day speech given in 1985 by then-President Ronald Reagan. Much of his speech applies to Memorial Day, especially this portion, which remains timely today:

And the living have a responsibility to remember the conditions that led to the wars in which our heroes died. Perhaps we can start by remembering this: that all of those who died for us and our country were, in one way or another, victims of a peace process that failed; victims of a decision to forget certain things; to forget, for instance, that the surest way to keep a peace going is to stay strong.

Weakness, after all, is a temptation — it tempts the pugnacious to assert themselves — but strength is a declaration that cannot be misunderstood. Strength is a condition that declares actions have consequences. Strength is a prudent warning to the belligerent that aggression need not go unanswered.

Peace fails when we forget what we stand for. It fails when we forget that our Republic is based on firm principles, principles that have real meaning, that with them, we are the last, best hope of man on Earth; without them, we’re little more than the crust of a continent. Peace also fails when we forget to bring to the bargaining table God’s first intellectual gift to man: common sense. Common sense gives us a realistic knowledge of human beings and how they think, how they live in the world, what motivates them. Common sense tells us that man has magic in him, but also clay. Common sense can tell the difference between right and wrong. Common sense forgives error, but it always recognizes it to be error first.

We endanger the peace and confuse all issues when we obscure the truth; when we refuse to name an act for what it is; when we refuse to see the obvious and seek safety in Almighty. Peace is only maintained and won by those who have clear eyes and brave minds.

I’d like to think many Americans have “clear eyes and brave minds” and these patriots desire the same qualities in our political and judicial leaders. It certainly reflects Judicial Watch’s modest approach to our efforts.

Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day!


Until next week …


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