A Los Angeles Supreme Court judge has ruled unconstitutional California’s law requiring state-owned companies to include women on councils has dealt a blow to the state’s desire to diversify corporate leadership.
Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis ruled Friday, three months after she heard the latest arguments in a lengthy trial without a jury in a lawsuit claimed by a conservative legal group. Ship watch.
Former California Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, who co-authored Senate Bill 826 and testified in court, said she believed the state would appeal the verdict and win.
Senate Professional President Tony Atkins, another author of the bill, called the decision “disappointing” and pointed to data showing that campaigns with women board members are more successful.
“More women on corporate boards means better decisions and businesses that outperform the competition – a fact that has been studied and proven,” Atkins said.
Three taxpayers, supported by Judicial Watch, challenged the law in 2019, saying it was sex discrimination in violation of the state constitution and would harm California taxpayers.
The California Secretary of State defended the law in a lawsuit, arguing that the state is very interested in gender diversity in councils and that the law was designed to address the historical shortage of women on councils.
Spokesmen for the Secretary of State and Judicial Watch, representing the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Adopted in 2018, the statute required California-based state-owned companies to have up to three female directors, and allowed the Secretary of State to impose fines of up to $ 300,000 for violation. Fines were not levied.
If he signed SB 826 in 2018, then the governor. Jerry Brown noted that there were “numerous objections to the bill and serious legal problems,” adding that it would not “minimize potential shortcomings that could indeed be fatal to its eventual implementation.”
Judicial Watch recently won another taxpayer claim against a similar California law that requires boards to include directors who identify themselves as members of an “unrepresented community” that includes Asians, blacks, Hispanics, Indians, and Pacific residents. who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Reuters and City News Service contributed to this article.