Senate Bill 826, signed into law last year by former Governor Jerry Brown, requires that by the end of 2019, all publicly held foreign or domestic corporations whose principal executive offices are in California shall have at least one female director on their boards of directors. By 2021, such corporations are required to have at least two female directors if the board has five members or at least three female directors if the board has six or more members.
The lawsuit asserts that this "quota system" violates Article I, Section 31 of the California Constitution, which prevents discrimination based on sex. The Plaintiffs ask for a judgment declaring illegal all expenditure of taxpayer funds and taxpayer-resources to enforce SB 826 as well as an injunction permanently prohibiting Padilla from enforcing SB 826.
The lawsuit was filed by Judicial Watch, Inc., a self-described "conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, [that] promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law."
This is the second lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against California in the past week. Last week, Judicial Watch sued the state for its new law requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns in order to appear on a primary ballot.
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