California law requiring women to join corporate councils unconstitutional, judge said

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A Los Angeles judge has ruled that a landmark California law requiring women to serve on corporate boards is unconstitutional. Supreme Court Justice Maureen Duffy-Lewis said the law, which requires up to three female directors on boards by this year, violates the right to equal treatment. The ruling was dated Friday. (Preliminary coverage of the law in the video above.) Conservative Judicial Watch legal group challenged the law, arguing that the use of taxpayers’ funds was illegal to enforce a law that violates California’s equal protection provision by prescribing a gender-based quota. ground with a legislative analysis that said it could be difficult to defend and the then governor. Jerry Brown said he is signing it despite the possibility of it being overturned by a court. Brown said he signed the bill to send a message in the #MeToo era. For the three years that he has been in the books, he is credited with improving the position of women in the meeting rooms of corporations. The state defended the law as constitutional, stating that it needed to change the culture of discrimination that favored men and was introduced only after other measures failed. The state also said the law does not create quotas because councils can add seats for women directors without depriving men of their positions. Although the law provided for potentially severe fines for failing to provide an annual report or failing to comply with the law, the head of the secretary of state’s office admitted during the trial that he was toothless. Fines were never levied and there was no intention to do so, Betsy Bogart testified. In addition, a letter that appeared during the trial from former Secretary of State Alex Padilla warned Brown a few weeks before the law was signed that it was probably unenforceable. “Any attempt by the Secretary of State to collect or impose a fine is likely to exceed his authority,” Padilla wrote. The law required state-owned companies headquartered in California to have one member who identifies himself as a woman on the board of directors by the end of 2019. By January 2022, boards with five directors were to have two women and boards with six or more members were required to have three women.

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that a landmark California law requiring women to serve on corporate boards is unconstitutional.

Supreme Court Justice Maureen Duffy-Lewis said the law, which required councils up to three female directors so far this year, violates the right to equal treatment. The ruling was dated Friday.

(Pre-coverage of the law in the video above.)

The Conservative Judicial Watch legal group has challenged the law, arguing that the illegal use of taxpayers’ funds to enforce a law that violates the Equal Protection of California Constitution by imposing a gender quota.

The law was on shaky ground from the start with a legislative analysis that said it could be difficult to protect the then-governor as well. Jerry Brown said he is signing it despite the possibility of it being overturned by a court. Brown said he signed the bill to send a message in the #MeToo era.

For the three years that he has been in the books, he is credited with improving the situation of women in corporate boardrooms.

The state defended the law as constitutional, saying it needed to end a culture of discrimination that favored men and was introduced only after other measures failed. The state also said the law does not create quotas because councils can add seats for women directors without depriving men of their positions.

Although the law provided for potentially severe fines for failing to provide an annual report or failing to comply with the law, the head of the secretary of state’s office admitted during the trial that he was toothless.

Fines were never levied and there was no intention to do so, Betsy Bogart testified. In addition, a letter that appeared during the trial from former Secretary of State Alex Padilla warned Brown a few weeks before the law was signed that it was probably unenforceable.

“Any attempt by the Secretary of State to collect or impose a fine is likely to exceed his authority,” Padilla wrote.

The law required state-owned companies headquartered in California to have one member who identifies himself as a woman on the board of directors by the end of 2019. By January 2022, boards with five directors were to have two women and boards with six or more members were required to have three women.

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