California Sued Over Law Forcing Appointment of Minorities and LGBT to Corporate Boards

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A conservative think tank filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against California to halt a law that will force quotas on publicly held corporations headquartered in the state, requiring them to appoint board members based solely on their race and sexual orientation.

The legislation at issue is the fruit of last year’s race riots that caused more than $2 billion in property damage and were organized nationwide by Black Lives Matter and Antifa.

The lawsuit, National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) v. Weber, was filed on Nov. 22 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Defendant Shirley Weber, a radical left-wing academic before entering politics, is being sued in her official capacity as California secretary of state. Until January of this year, the San Diego-area Democrat was a member of the California State Assembly, where she championed AB 3121, a law creating a task force to develop proposals to pay reparations to blacks to compensate them for having ancestors a century and a half ago who were enslaved.

California has an “ugly past,” and its “systemic injustice” needs to be confronted, she said when her bill became law last year.

The NCPPR is a pro-free market research and shareholder advocacy organization. It’s being represented in the legal proceeding by Sacramento-based Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), which argues that the new law, known as AB 979, perpetuates discrimination by treating people based on their immutable characteristics, and not as individuals.

Since 2020, the state law known as SB 826 has required that all publicly held corporations headquartered in California meet a quota of female board members or face fines. PLF client and shareholder activist Creighton Meland is challenging SB 826 in the same U.S. district court. The state tried to have the case dismissed but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit unanimously determined that a shareholder of a California company has standing to sue over the law.

Beginning next year, AB 979 will require the affected corporations to meet an additional quota for board members based on race and sexual orientation.

When signing AB 979 into law on Sept. 30, 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said he did so to advance “racial justice.”

By Matthew Vadum

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