Between 2018 and 2020, California passed two so-called “corporate diversity” bills intended to put more women and minorities on the boards of directors for corporations having headquarters in the state. AB 826 required corporations to have an increasing number of women on their boards, up to as many as three if the board had six or more members. Then came AB 979, which mandated that boards have at least one member of an “underrepresented community” by the end of 2021. Companies found to not be in compliance would be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The latter bill ran into a major setback on Friday when Judge Terry Green of the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that Ab 979 was unconstitutional, violating the state constitution’s equal protection clause. The suit had been brought by Judicial Watch, which hailed the ruling as a significant victory over “one of the most blatant and significant attacks in the modern era on constitutional prohibitions against discrimination.” (Reuters)