California's Female Director Quota Law Is Now Headed For Trial
California Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis issued her ruling yesterday on the parties' respective motions for summary judgment in Crest v. Padilla (Cal. Super. Ct. Case No. 19STCV27561). In this case, the plaintiffs are seeking a judgment declaring that any and all expenditures of taxpayer funds to enforce and carry out the provisions of California's female director quota law (SB 826) are illegal. SB 826 is codified at Sections 301.3 and 2115.5 of the California Corporations Code. The basis for the plaintiffs' claim is Art. I, Section 31 of the California Constitution which forbids the state from discriminating against, or granting 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.
Judge Duffy-Lewis denied both motions on the grounds that there are triable issues of material facts. While the fundamental question presented by the case appears to be legal, the ruling notes that each side provided with their moving papers "substantial amounts of extrinsic evidence" and that each side disputed facts presented by the other.
Whatever the outcome of the trial, there will most likely be an appeal. In addition, there is a separate challenge to the law pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Meland v. Padilla (Case No. No. 2:19-cv-02288-JAM-AC). As noted in this post, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's ruling that the plaintiff lacked standing. Meland v. Weber, 2 F. 4th 838 (9th Cir. 2021).