California judge rules against law imposing ethnic and racial diversity requirements on corporate boards

California has embodied the ideological left’s obsession with diversity, equity, and inclusion and even enacted such notions into law with requirements imposed on the boards of publicly traded corporations based in the state. “Equity” refers to equal outcomes and not simply equal opportunities.

A judge in Los Angeles just ruled in favor of a challenge against those state-imposed requirements as likely being discriminatory and in violation of the California Constitution’s equal protection guarantees, The Washington Times reported.

The law, passed in 2020 and known as Assembly Bill 979, would have required state-based corporate boards of certain sizes to include a minimum number of directors from “underrepresented communities” no later than the end of 2021.

According to the governor’s office, qualifying individuals included those who self-identify as “Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.”

“Blatant and significant” discrimination

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch sued California on behalf of taxpaying citizens and successfully argued that the mandated diversity, equity, and inclusion law for corporate boards was blatantly unconstitutional by explicitly distinguishing individuals based solely on “racial or ethnic, sexual preference, and transgender status grounds.”

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

“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,” he added.

The brief ruling from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Green did not provide any explanation or reasoning for the decision. It did, however, according to The Center Square, instruct the state to propose an appropriate form of relief within 15 days and, of course, the state retains the right to appeal the ruling to a higher court.

Unconstitutional and discriminatory requirements for corporations

Meanwhile, Judicial Watch noted that it is separately engaged in two other ongoing legal fights against similar diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements imposed on corporations.

The first of those, a 2018 law also from California and known as Senate Bill 826, requires corporate boards based in the state to include a certain number of female directors.

The second is a proposed rule by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission that would impose the same sort of racial and gender quotas on the corporate boards of all companies listed on the Nasdaq exchange.

Diversity and inclusion of “underrepresented communities” can be laudable goals that may be worthy of encouragement but should never be mandated. The notion of “equity” instead of equality is simply anti-American, though, and it is good that this judge has rejected California’s requirements as illegal and unconstitutional.

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