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California mandate to seat minorities on boards ruled unlawful

April 2, 2022, 4:33 PM UTC
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a bill signing ceremony at Nido's Backyard Mexican Restaurant on Feb. 9 in San Francisco, Calif.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

California’s landmark mandate for boards of directors to include minorities was struck down by a state judge.

The measure signed into law in 2020 by Gov. Gavin Newsom to diversify boards violates the California Constitution, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Green ruled Friday.

Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group, challenged the state’s establishment of a quota for members of underrepresented groups, including Black, Hispanic and Asian people, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. 

“The court agreed with Judicial Watch that any expenditure of taxpayer funds or taxpayer-financed resources” to enforce the rule is illegal, the group said in a statement.

Green’s brief ruling didn’t explain his reasoning.

The office of the California Secretary of State Shirley Weber didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

Judicial Watch also sued to overturn California’s first-in-the-nation requirement that companies include women on boards of public companies. A nearly month-long trial in that case concluded in February before a different Los Angeles judge who has yet to issue a ruling.

The case is Crest v. Padilla, 20STCV37513, Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles (Los Angeles).

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