For the second time in as many months, judges in California have dealt the wokesters a setback in their effort to mandate who governs public corporations.
As Forbes magazine reported Tuesday, a state judge earlier this week ruled that a 2018 state law requiring companies to seat a certain number of women on corporate boards was unconstitutional.
That followed an April 1 ruling by a different state judge who found a similar mandate to set aside seats for members of “underrepresented communities” unconstitutional. That law was enacted in 2020.
As Forbes noted, “According to both opinions, these laws violated the state’s equal protection standards designed to prevent treating similarly situated individuals—qualified board members—differently based on their membership (or lack thereof) in certain listed racial, sexual orientation, and gender identity groups.”
“Both opinions further concluded that the state had failed to identify any compelling state interest in remedying discrimination.”
California was the first state to enact such a mandate regarding women.
Yet, according to Forbes, the judge overseeing the case involving the 2018 law determined that the state “…was unable to present specific evidence of actual, unlawful discrimination against any specific women by any specific corporation.”
The independent rulings, unless overturned, “represent significant barriers to government’s ability to dictate board composition requirements for corporations based on diversity or related qualifications.”
Yet, the magazine pointed out that California companies were working toward that anyway. “Surveys by several of the leading director search and succession firms suggest that voluntary efforts over the last several years by corporate boards to diversify their composition have been achieving success. This is especially with respect to the inclusion of women and Blacks/African Americans to boards.”
The Financial Times noted that a woman, Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis, rendered the decision regarding gender diversity.
Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, had challenged the gender diversity law.
After the ruling, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement, “The radical left’s unprecedented attacks on anti-discrimination law has suffered another stinging defeat.”