Apr 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Court rules California's boardroom diversity law unconstitutional

The California State Capitol building in Sacramento, California, U.S., on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

The California State Capitol building in Sacramento. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Los Angeles judge on Friday ruled California's law requiring corporations to diversify their boards with members from certain racial, ethnic or LGBTQ groups unconstitutional, AP reports.

Driving the news: The ruling — which didn't explain the judge's reasoning — granted summary judgment to Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that sought a permanent injunction against the corporate diversity law.

  • The lawsuit argued that the measure violated the equal protection clause in the state's constitution.

The big picture: The measure — signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, in 2020 — required publicly held companies headquartered in the state to include at least one member of an "underrepresented community" on their board by the end of 2021.

  • In its court filings, the state argued the measure didn’t "discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting," per AP.

The other side: "This historic California court decision declared unconstitutional one of the most blatant and significant attacks in the modern era on constitutional prohibitions against discrimination," Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement.

  • He added: "The court upheld the core American value of equal protection under the law."

Go deeper: Boardroom diversity pays off

Go deeper