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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Victory for LIFE at the Supreme Court

Judicial Watch Celebrates Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade
Federal Court Orders Release of Testimony of Former Obama Era IRS Officials Lois Lerner and Holly Paz
Records Show Critical Race Theory Propaganda at West Point
Tijuana Opens Muslim Migrant Shelter for U.S. Asylum Seekers
Judicial Watch Victories: Courts Declare California Quota Laws Unconstitutional

 


Judicial Watch Celebrates Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade

This is a day to celebrate life! The Supreme Court today held that the Constitution of the United States of America does not confer a right to abortion. The high court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson overturned Roe v. Wade. Credit should be given to President Trump for appointing justices who finally vindicated the rule of law by upholding the Constitution.

Justice Alito’s opinion is one for the ages and simply holds: “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives” and “procuring an abortion is not a fundamental constitutional right because such a right has no basis in the Constitution’s text or in our Nation’s history.” The decision affirmed Roe was egregiously wrong and was an abusive exercise of “raw judicial power.” Today’s decision begins to undo Roe’s damage to our nation.

Simply put, abortion ends a human life and is incompatible with a civil, moral society. The lives of unborn human beings must be protected in every state. States should immediately act to protect the lives of unborn human beings. And Congress should also move to protect unborn lives at the federal level. For example, Congress should move to stop, in the least, federal funding for the trafficking of fetal organs harvested from human beings killed by abortion.

The heroic decision comes down shortly after Justice Kavanaugh was almost assassinated as a foreseeable result of this president’s and his leftist allies’ despicable intimidation campaign against the Supreme Court to protect the abortion on demand regime imposed by the Roe court. The criminal leak, illegal protests, and threats didn’t work: Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett held firm for the rule of law and will go down in history for their bravery.

Americans can expect an escalation of the terror campaign by pro-abortionists against the Justices, pro-life centers that help pregnant mothers, and Catholic and other Christian churches that support the right to life. Rather than allowing illegal protests at the homes of Supreme Court Justices and paying little attention to the terror campaign to date, the Biden Justice Department must act to address this crisis now. And state and local law enforcement should also focus on the escalating threats pregnancy centers, pro-life advocates, and churches.

We filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case in support of the constitutionality of Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act and overturning Roe v. Wade. The brief argued that the Constitution and Bill of Rights exist to protect the federalist system and sovereignty of the states on these matters:

Our Founding Fathers very carefully crafted the Constitution and Bill of Rights to protect the individual sovereignty of the states. The resulting principles of federalism purposefully guided the jurisprudence of this country for more than 150 years, maintaining fairly clear spheres of federal and state power….

Abortion policy began in the states where the people used the democratic process to voice their moral, religious, and scientific opinions. Roe needlessly wrenched abortion policy from the states and, relying on “penumbras formed by emanations,” seven unelected judges created a brand-new constitutional right to abortion. The response was immediate and lasting and after 48 years, strong opposition to Roe and its progeny remain.

***

Despite creative judicial legislating, it is crystal clear that abortion does not involve war, peace, negotiation, foreign commerce, or taxation. Abortion fits squarely into the states’ sphere of objects that concern the “lives, liberties, and properties of the people.” Not being an enumerated power, the Roe Court did not have the authority to overturn the abortion laws of the states.

In deciding Roe as it did, the court created a legal morass for decades to come. Our brief addresses this fact as another reason for overturning Roe:

Far from creating a national consensus, Roe threw the states into a 48-year contentious legal battle. Even some abortion advocates eschew the injudicious method of federalizing abortion as short-circuiting a naturally evolving jurisprudence under state laws. As federal and state judges attempt to apply this Court’s precedents, a national landscape of inconsistent, inconclusive, and untenable rules have emerged. As a national policy, abortion jurisprudence is, in a word, a mess. Stubbornly holding on to unconstitutional precedent will never have a positive outcome. It is time to return abortion policy to the states where it belongs and where the democratic process can effectively work.

Finally, this court completes what its predecessors failed to do in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 874-75 (1992) only 20 years after Roe, fully cast aside that decision. In Casey, the court rejected many of the tenets of Roe, but it failed to take the final step and overturn it. This decision in Dobbs remedies that failure as addressed in our brief:

Less than 20 years after Roe, this Court essentially rejected Roe without overturning Roe and set up a new standard which permitted states to restrict abortion within their borders barring an “undue burden” on women. Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 874-75 (1992), another splintered opinion and holding, recognized the states’ interest in protecting prenatal life after viability but fell short of recognizing the preeminence of state power.

The Supreme Court stood strong today in support of the Constitution by overturning Roe. Now states can again extend the protection of law to the precious lives of unborn human beings. Americans will mourn the tens of millions of human beings lost to abortion on demand under the Roe regime. But Americans will soon rejoice for the millions who will live thanks to Roe being thrown into the dustbin of history.



Federal Court Orders Release of Testimony of Former Obama Era IRS Officials Lois Lerner and Holly Paz

A federal court ordered the release of testimony of two IRS officials who played key roles in the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups and individuals opposed to Obama-era policies in the run up to the 2012 presidential election.

The two are Lois Lerner, former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Holly Paz, her top aide and former IRS director of Office of Rulings and Agreements. The ruling in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio Western Division unsealing the case records comes in the lawsuit (NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al. v. The Internal Revenue Service, et al. (No. 1:13-cv-00341)).

Obama and his congressional allies abused the IRS to suppress the Tea Party movement and other opponents in the run-up to his reelection. This is how one steals an election in plain sight.

The Obama IRS scandal was a run-through for the abuse of Trump in 2016 and beyond by Obama agencies and appointees. These depositions of Obama’s IRS officials will help Americans understand the continued clear and present danger of the IRS to our civil liberties.

Lerner’s and Paz’s depositions were sealed by Judge Barrett in April 2017, after Lerner’s and Paz’s lawyers claimed the two officials were receiving threats. The court finally ordered the unsealing of the depositions four years after plaintiffs requested the depositions be unsealed and only after plaintiffs filed for a writ of mandamus to force action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

In December 2017, we submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of plaintiffs’ request that the depositions should be unsealed. We argued that the release of the deposition transcripts “may shed light on government misconduct … on the grounds that shielding internal government deliberations in this context does not serve the public’s interest in honest, effective government.” The brief continued:

The courts have long recognized a “strong presumption in favor of openness as to court records. The burden of overcoming that presumption is borne by the party that seeks to seal them. The burden is a heavy one: ‘Only the most compelling reasons can justify non-disclosure of judicial records.’ Moreover, the greater the public interest in the litigation’s subject matter, the greater the showing necessary to overcome the presumption of access.”

The original NorCal Tea Party Patriots lawsuit in which Lerner and Paz gave depositions was a class-action lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of the Treasury and named individual officials claiming that:

Elements within the Executive Branch of the federal government, including Defendants, brought the vast powers, incomprehensible complexity, and crushing bureaucracy of the IRS to bear on groups of citizens whose only wrongdoing was their presumed dissent from the policies or ideology of the Administration. In other words, these citizens were targeted based upon their political viewpoints.

The lawsuit was settled in 2017 when the Justice Department awarded the plaintiffs over $3.5 million for “attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, and incentive awards.” In settling the case, the DOJ admitted the IRS abused its power and the criteria it used to screen applications for 501(c) status was inappropriate. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated:

The IRS’ use of these criteria as a basis for heightened scrutiny was wrong and should never have occurred. It is improper for the IRS to single out groups for different treatment based on their names or ideological positions. Any entitlement to tax exemption should be based on the activities of the organization and whether they fulfill requirements of the law, not the policy positions adopted by members or the name chosen to reflect those views.

Despite these admissions of wrongdoing, the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.

We have uncovered troves of documents about the Obama IRS scandal (see, for example, here and here). We filed at least nine FOIA lawsuits about the IRS scandal, and much of what is known about the scandal resulted from our litigation and investigations.

Here is a partial summary of Judicial Watch’s disclosures:

  • In September 2014, our FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained and maintained the names of donors to Tea Party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that “such information was not needed.” The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a “secret research project.”
  • In April 2015, we released court ordered IRS documents that included an emailfrom Lerner asking that a program be set up to “put together some training points to help them [IRS staffers] understand the potential pitfalls” of revealing too much information to Congress.  The documents also contain a Lerner email from 2013 in which she says she is willing to take the blame on some aspects of the scandal.  She also indicates that she “understands why the IRS criteria” leading to the targeting of Tea Party and other opponents of the President Obama “might raise questions.”
  • In July 2015, Judicial Watch revealed the IRS scandal also included the Justice Department and FBI as well. According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch under court order, in an October 2010 meeting, Lerner, Justice Department officials and the FBI planned for the possible criminal prosecution of targeted nonprofit organizations for alleged illegal political activity. As part of that effort, the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 non-profit, 501(c)(4) social welfare groups as part of its prosecution effort. According to a letterfrom then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department …”
  • Also in July 2015, we released Obama IRS documentsconfirming that the agency used donor lists of tax-exempt organizations to target those donors for audits.  The documents also show IRS officials specifically highlighted how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may come under “high scrutiny” from the IRS.
  • In July 2016, Judicial Watch, through a federal court orderin one of its FOIA lawsuits (Judicial Watch v Department of Justice (No. 1:14-cv-01239)), obtained FBI “302” documents, which contain detailed narratives of FBI agent investigations, revealing that top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, knew that the agency was specifically targeting “Tea Party” and other conservative organizations two full years before disclosing it to Congress and the public.

The FBI 302 documents also confirm the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) 2013 report that said, “Senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011.” Lerner did not reveal the targeting until May 2013, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference.  The documents reveal that then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller actually wrote Lerner’s response, where she admits:

They [IRS staff] used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.

  • In November 2016, after the IRS  refused to acknowledgeits targeting of conservative groups, we forced the release of IRS records revealing the agency used “inappropriate political labels” to screen the tax-exempt applications of conservative organizations. IRS agents were targeting organizations requesting tax-exempt status based on “guilt by association” and “party affiliation.” We brought to light that the IRS was going to require 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations to restrict their alleged political activities in exchange for “expedited consideration” of their tax-exempt applications. FBI “302” documents uncovered by Judicial Watch also reveal that IRS officials stated that the agency was targeting conservative groups because of their ideology and political affiliation in the summer of 2011.
  • We also separately uncovered in our lawsuit Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559) that Lerner was under significant pressure from both Democrats in Congress and the Obama Justice Department and FBI to prosecute and jail the groups the IRS was already improperly targeting. In discussing pressure from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to prosecute these “political groups,” Lerner admitted, “it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”
  • In March 2017, we obtained IRS documentsthrough our FOIA lawsuit Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220) that contain admissions by IRS officials that the agency used “inappropriate political labels” to screen the tax-exempt applications of conservative organizations.  Other records uncovered reveal that the IRS was going to require 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations to restrict their alleged political activities in exchange for “expedited consideration” of their tax-exempt applications.
  • In June 2018, we obtained internal IRSdocuments through one of our FOIA lawsuits (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)) revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.” Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.

In response to Judicial Watch’s litigation, the IRS initially claimed that emails belonging to Lerner were supposedly missing. Later, IRS officials conceded that the “missing” emails were on IRS back-up systems.

 

Records Show Critical Race Theory Propaganda at West Point

Our military is under attack – from within. We have secured documents showing that racist, anti-American critical race theory propaganda is being used to radicalize our rising generation of Army leadership at West Point.

We received two batches of records, 518 pages and 135 pages, documenting this. For example, one training slide contains a graphic titled “MODERN-DAY SLAVERY IN THE USA.”

We obtained the records through two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Defense, which we filed after it failed to respond to requests for records concerning critical race theory training at West Point (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:21-cv-01795)) and emails related to such training of LTG Darryl A. Williams, Superintendent, United States Military Academy, BG Mark C. Quander, Commandant, U.S. Corps of Cadets, U.S. Military Academy, and CSM Michael J. Coffee, former U.S. Military Academy senior enlisted leader (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:21-cv-02616)).

The records include material about “whiteness:”

In order to understand racial inequality and slavery, it is first necessary to address whiteness

    • “White people and people of color live racially different structured lives” – Frankenberg
    • 1) Is a location of structural advantage, of race privilege.
    • 2) A standpoint or place from which white people look at themselves and the rest of society
    • 3) Refers to a set of cultural practices that are usually unmarked and unnamed:

Take-for-grantedness of whiteness

    • Privilege lives within this

A slide in the materials is titled “By the Numbers” and has a graphic titled “MODERN DAY SLAVERY IN THE USA.” [Emphasis in original] It lists:

Blacks are more likely than whites to:

Live below the poverty line

Be victims of homicide (6:1)

Be incarcerated (8:1)

Blacks are less likely than whites to:

Have a college education

Receive recommended medical screening tests

Receive bank approval for a housing mortgage

Own their own homes

Receive a job promotion

Students are instructed that critical race theory, “Grows out of the field of law and studies the way that racism is built into and reproduced through the institutions that organize everyday life.”

Another presentation is titled “Education and Work Inequality,” in which one slide has a text box: “‘Race and the Invisible Hand’ How White Networks Exclude Black Men from Blue-Collar Jobs.”

Another slide in the presentation titled “Affirmative Action,” asks cadets:

Do you think Affirmative Action creates and [sic] environment for “reverse discrimination?” Use CRT to support your answer.

Cadets are asked in a slide titled “Conundrums of Integration:”

What is the difference between desegregation versus integration? How would you apply a tenant [sic] of CRT to this idea?

An additional PowerPoint presentation, includes a slide titled “Critical Race Theory and Policy” which describes critical race theory as having the following attributes:

  • Racism is ordinary.
  • Race is socially constructed.
  • White Americans have primarily benefited from civil rights legislation.

A slide in the presentation titled “Queer Theory and Policy,” under the general heading “Queer Theory” lists:

  • Heterosexuality is the basis for sexual formations.
  • Queer theory is multidisciplinary.
  • Gay and lesbian issues get combined into one category when they are not the same.

In the syllabus for a 3-credit Social Sciences Department class titled “The Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality,” an assigned reading text is “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. In the course description, the syllabus notes: “[T]he class will serve as an introduction to the theoretical concepts of post-modernism. This will include a focus on feminist theory, critical race theory, and queer theory.”

Another objective is to “consider how the contemporary issues that relate to race, gender, and sexuality apply to the army and how they impact the army officer. The concepts that will be discussed in this class are essential for future military officers to understand and fully absorb.”

Our lawsuits and FOIA requests on critical race theory and other leftist extremism include:

  • In June 2022 we further pursued litigation a federal court decision dismissing a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of David Flynn, a Massachusetts father who was fired from his position as high school football coach after he raised concerns over Black Lives Matter/critical race theory being taught in his daughter’s seventh-grade ancient history class.
  • Records produced in April 2022 from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) show the government agency responsible for regulating credit unions required “inclusion and unconscious bias training” for the agency’s employees and contractors and offered advice on how to recognize and address alleged “microaggressions” in the workplace.
  • Records produced in February 2022from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) included a PowerPoint presentation titled “Race and gender based microaggressions” that was used for training at the organization.
  • Two sets of records obtained by Judicial Watch in November 2021 related to the teaching of critical race theory in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Maryland’s largest school system, included a training course with information about a book titled “Antiracist Baby” that introduces the youngest readers to “the concept and power of antiracism,” and says it’s the “perfect gift” for “ages baby to age 3.”
  • Records from Loudoun County, VA, obtained in October 2021 revealed a coordinated effort to advance critical race theory initiatives in Loudoun County public schools despite widespread public opposition.
  • A training document provided to Judicial Watch in October 2021 by a whistleblower in the Westerly School Districtof Rhode Island, details how its schools are using teachers to push critical race theory in classrooms. The training course was assembled by the left-leaning Highlander Institute and cites quotes from Bettina Love, from whom the Biden administration distanced itself publicly after her statements equating “whiteness” to oppression.
  • Records produced in June 2021 by Wellesley Public Schools in Massachusetts confirmed the use of “affinity spaces” that divide students and staff based on race as a priority and objective of the school district’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” plan. The school district also admitted that between September 1, 2020, and May 17, 2021, it created “five distinct” segregated spaces.
  • Heavily redacted records obtained by Judicial watch in May 2021from Montgomery County Public Schools(MCPS) in Maryland included documents related to their $454,000 “Anti-racist system audit” and critical race theory classes. Students were taught that the phrase “Make America Great Again” was an example of “covert white supremacy.”

Tijuana Opens Muslim Migrant Shelter for U.S. Asylum Seekers

People continue to flow cross our southern border with little or no background screening for criminal history, associations, or intent. Former Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan said this week that he’s concerned the next terrorist attack will come from a border crosser who evaded apprehension by law enforcement, and that planning for the attack may already be underway.

That will not surprise regular readers of our Corruption Chronicles blog, which has been reporting on this threat for some time. Here is the latest piece of this dangerous puzzle:

As the U.S. sets a record for illegal immigrant apprehensions along the southern border, a first-of-its- kind shelter opens in Tijuana, Mexico to accommodate a steady flow of Muslim migrants heading north via Latin America. A couple of years ago a San Diego-based group called Latina Muslim Foundation began raising funds to build the shelter “in response to the growing number of Muslim migrants south of the border,” according to a local news report. The 8,000-square-foot facility, which opened over the weekend, can accommodate “up to 150 asylum-seekers,” and will offer Muslim migrants housing, medical care, halal meals and legal services as they wait to enter the U.S. in the famously violent Mexican city that borders California.

Judicial Watch has for years reported on the increasing number of Muslim migrants—including from terrorist nations—entering the U.S. through the Mexican border and the timing of this influx could not be worse, during a record-breaking month for the U.S. Border Patrol. The latest agency figures show that more illegal immigrants—222,656—were apprehended at the southwest border in May than in any other month in history. The previous one-month record was set in March 2000, when the frontline Homeland Security agency reported 223,305 apprehensions. Additionally, federal agents have processed more than 1.5 million illegal immigrants this fiscal year. With three months till the end of the fiscal year, at the current rate the figure is sure to surpass the 2021 record of 1.7 million.

A quarter of the illegal alien encounters reported in May involved repeat offenders previously caught by federal agents this year, the latest government stats reveal. The breakdown shows that Mexicans account for the largest number of illegal border crossers in May, about 77,000, followed by Cubans (25,348), Guatemalans (21,382), Hondurans (19,491), Colombians (19,040), Nicaraguans (18,944), Haitians (10,418), Salvadorans (8,955), Brazilians (5,118), Venezuelans (5,078), Russians (3,394) and Ecuadoreans (3,045). This batch of records does not offer a breakdown that includes Muslims, but it has long been reported that the number is on the rise. Earlier this year an Arab news outlet reported that thousands of Muslims from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa try to reach the U.S.-Mexico border every month. In the story the head of a religious immigrant organization in Brazil estimates that 20% of all people welcomed on their U.S.-bound journey in 2020 were Muslim.

In the last few years, a growing number of illegal aliens from terrorist nations—including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh—have tried to enter the U.S. through Mexico, making the increase in Muslim asylum seekers and the effort to accommodate them in bordering Tijuana quite troublesome. In recent years, an alarming number of migrants from Bangladesh, a recruiting ground for terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), have been caught by federal agents along the U.S.-Mexico border. At the start of this fiscal year, which began in September, the Border Patrol encountered tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from dozens of countries, including Africa and the Middle East. In the first month alone the Border Patrol’s Del Rio Sector in Texas recorded 28,111 illegal aliens from more than 50 countries. They include Syria, Lebanon, Eritrea, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, a central Asian nation that borders Afghanistan, which is controlled by the Taliban after the abrupt exit of U.S. troops.

It is worth noting that Mexico is a hotbed of Islamic terrorism that is concentrated in the American border region. As part of an ongoing investigation into the national security threats along the southern border, Judicial Watch has reported that Islamic jihadists are training in southern border towns near American cities and have joined forces with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate the United States. Years ago, a high-ranking Homeland Security official confirmed to Judicial Watch that Mexican drug traffickers help Islamic terrorists stationed in Mexico cross into the U.S. to explore targets for future attacks. Among the jihadists that traveled back and forth through the southern border was a Kuwaiti named Shaykh Mahmood Omar Khabir, an ISIS operative who lives in the Mexican state of Chihuahua not far from El Paso. Another was a Saudi Al Qaeda operative, Adnan G. El Shurkrjumah, wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during his undetected cross-border jaunts.

 

Judicial Watch Victories: Courts Declare California Quota Laws Unconstitutional

Judicial Watch scored tremendous victories in mounting successful court challenges to Left’s radical and unconstitutional quota mandates in California”. Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, summarizes these victories in Investigative Bulletin:

Equal protection under the law is the foundation of the fight against discrimination. Here, famously, is the U.S Constitution on the issue:

“No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

–14th Amendment

And here is the Constitution of the State of California:

“A person may not be…denied equal protection of the laws.”

–Article One

But in California, left-wing lawmakers dominating the state legislature launched assaults on equal protection, passing two measures that mandated quotas for corporate boards. Senate Bill 826 required every publicly held corporation to have at least one director “who self-identifies her gender as a woman.” Assembly Bill 979 required corporations to have between one and three directors from “underrepresented communities,” defined as “Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or [those who self-identify] as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.”

Many California taxpayers were alarmed by the new laws. This was not an arcane fight over corporate board membership: bedrock constitutional principles were at stake, and other quota laws seemed sure to follow. Whatever happened to picking people based on qualifications such as relevant work and life experience? And as Judicial Watch attorneys would later note in two separate court cases: laws that explicitly distinguish between individuals on the grounds of racial, ethnic, or gender status, or sexual preference, are directly prohibited by the equal protection clause.

Judicial Watch joined with three California taxpayers—Robin Crest, Earl De Vires, and Judy De Vires—to fight the laws. Judicial Watch attorneys argued that the laws were unconstitutional—blatant violations of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution—and any use of taxpayer funds to enforce compliance was illegal.

Assembly Bill 979—the move to enforce racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ quotas—was rife with “stereotypes,” Judicial Watch noted. The law demeaned individuals, shunting aside “their very worth as citizens” and evaluating them according to criteria “barred to the government by history and the Constitution.” In October 2020, Judicial Watch sued to overturn the law.

“California’s government has a penchant for quotas that are brazenly unconstitutional,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton at the time. “Gender quotas and now new quotas for numerous other groups for corporate boards are slaps in the face to the core American value of equal protection under the law.”

Challenging Senate Bill 826 in a separate court proceeding, Judicial Watch attorneys noted that the law was a clear violation of California’s equal protection clause. Lawyers for the state argued that not only were the gender quotas a legitimate means of remedying discrimination, but women on boards improved corporate performance as well. Judicial Watch shot down the improved performance claim, presenting expert witness testimony that the studies of improved board performance relied on by the state were, at best, deficient and unreliable.

The courts sided with Judicial Watch.

Setting aside Assembly Bill 979, Judge Terry A. Green wrote in a 24-page opinion that the law “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution on its face.” In a sharp rebuke, he castigated the state legislature for not protecting “the right of individuals to equal treatment.”

Judge Green wrote: “The difficulty is that the Legislature is thinking in group terms. But the California Constitution protects the right of individuals to equal treatment. Before the Legislature may require that members of one group be given certain board seats, it must first try to create neutral conditions under which qualified individuals from any group may succeed. That attempt was not made in this case.”

Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis was equally uncompromising in her rejection of the gender quota law, Senate Bill 826, determining it “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution.”

In her verdict, Judge Duffy-Lewis denounced the legislation. Senate Bill 826’s goal “was not to boost California’s economy, not to improve opportunities for women in the workplace … not to protect California taxpayers, public employees, pensions and retirees” — all claims made by the state at trial. It’s goal “was to achieve general equity or parity … the Legislature’s actual purpose was gender-balancing, not remedying discrimination.”

In fact, there was no discrimination. Corporations have voluntarily engaged in good-faith efforts for years to put more qualified woman and minorities on their boards. “There is no compelling governmental interest in remedying discrimination in the board selection process,” Judge Duffy-Lewis noted, “because neither the Legislature nor Defendant could identify any specific, purposeful, intentional and unlawful discrimination to be remedied.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton saluted the two court victories and pointed to the big issues at stake. “The radical Left’s unprecedented attacks on anti-discrimination law has suffered another stinging defeat,” he said. “Thankfully, California courts 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.”

Until next week …