Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis has struck down a California law that required companies to appoint up to three women to their boards.
California passed the law after other measures failed to address the disparity on boards. Even when it was passed, however, its future was tenuous at best. Experts said the law would be difficult to defend, and it has now been struck down as unconstitutional.
According to CBS News, the law’s constitutionality was tested by conservative legal group Judicial Watch. The group claimed the law violated California’s equal protect law by enforcing a gender-based quota. The law also included significant fines for companies that failed to comply, although evidence emerged that government officials knew there was likely no legal authority to actually enforce the fines written into the law.
Judge Duffy-Lewis agreed with Judicial Watch, but the law has already went a long way toward achieving its purpose. Since the law was introduced, the number of board seats filled by women in the state rose from 17& to more than 30%. In contrast, women hold 26% of board seats nationally.