The judge determined the measure violated California’s constitutional equal protection clause, according to a summary judgment obtained by Judicial Watch, a right-leaning legal group that filed a permanent injunction against the law.
“[The ruling] declared unconstitutional one of the most blatant and significant attacks in the modern era on constitutional prohibitions against discrimination,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told the Associated Press.
The law, signed in 2020 by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, required at least one minority person to serve on the board of directors in all companies with an executive office in California by the end of 2021. It also mandated that two minority people should serve on the board in corporations with four to nine directors and three minority members should serve on a board with over nine directors.
“When we talk about racial justice, we talk about empowerment, we talk about power, and we need to talk about seats at the table,” Newsom said when signing the law.
Three hundred out of 700 corporations had followed the law, according to a “Diversity on Boards” report released last month. However, over half did not submit the proper disclosure statement.
Those found to violate the diversity law could face $100,000 for the initial violation and $300,000 for repeated violations.
The diversity law followed a similar law in 2018 signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that mandated female participation in boards of directors for companies located within the state, though he conceded the law would be hard to defend and could be overturned. A similar lawsuit by Judicial Watch is challenging the 2018 law. That case is pending.
Representatives for Judicial Watch did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.