Judicial Watch: Hearing Scheduled for Case Challenging California’s Gender Quotas for Corporate Boards

Lawsuit Argues California’s Quota for Women on Corporate Boards is Unconstitutional and Asks Court to Permanently Enjoin Any Expenditure of Taxpayer Funds on the Quota

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that a hearing is scheduled in the California Superior Court regarding its case challenging California’s gender quotas for corporate boards. Arguments will be heard by Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis.

DATE: Tuesday, September 21, 2021,
TIME: 9:30 a.m. PT, 12:30 p.m. ET
PLACE: Courtroom/Department 38
Superior Court of California Los Angeles,
Stanley Mosk Courthouse,
111 Hill Street,
Los Angeles, CA

Judicial Watch filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on August 6, 2019, on behalf of three California taxpayers, Robin Crest, Earl De Vries and Judy De Vries. The 2018 law, known as Senate Bill 826 (SB 826), requires every publicly held corporation headquartered in California to have at least one director “who self-identifies her gender as a woman” on its board of directors by December 31, 2019. The law also requires corporations to have up to three such persons on their boards by December 31, 2021, depending on the size of the board (Robin Crest et al. v. Alex Padilla (No.19STCV27561)).

The lawsuit alleges that the quota violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution, among other provisions, and asks the court to order that no taxpayer funds be spent on the illegal provision.  Both sides have asked the court to enter judgment in their favor.  Tuesday’s hearing will address both requests.

In July 2020, the court cleared the way for the lawsuit to proceed, holding that Judicial Watch’s clients had standing under state law to sue.

Judicial Watch argues in its court filings:

SB 826 requires that subject corporations set aside a certain number of board seats for women or create new seats for which only women may apply…. SB 826 imposes the additional requirement that one or more seats be set aside or created for women. The only criterion for occupying these seats is being female. Men are excluded from the seats no matter how well-qualified they might be …

Judicial Watch includes expert analysis from Jonathan Klick, Ph.D., J.D., an expert in econometrics, statistics, and corporate law, who concludes:

In my opinion, the evidence offered in [the] declarations supporting Secretary Padilla’s motion for each of these points (underrepresentation of women on boards, discrimination as the cause of this underrepresentation, and that research shows a differential benefit of appointing women, as opposed to men, in terms of firm performance) is deficient and unreliable.

“California politicians want to use SB826 to upend decades of settled constitutional law that prohibits discrimination based on sex,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We hope this lawsuit vindicates the rule of law and the commonsense principle that the way to end any discrimination based on sex is to stop discriminating on the basis of the sex.”

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Trendsetter? California’s recall election could inspire other western states

With Republicans still stinging from California’s failed recall attempt of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, one elections expert says nearby states could see more copycat recall efforts.

The recall election proved Newsom was not Gray Davis, the last California governor to be recalled in 2003. The freshman governor defeated the recall effort against him by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

Supporters of the recall used Newsom’s unilateral COVID-19 mitigation orders to fulfill their signature requirements.

“Newsom lost and then later won on COVID-19 handling,” said Ben Kaplan, CEO of TOP Government, a San Francisco-based national polling and market research agency. “His viral gaffe moment at French Laundry gave the recall huge momentum. But, in the end, the candidate that everyone coalesced around in Larry Elder caused enough to fear what he could do over COVID-19.”

It appears California Democrats are fed up with the threat of recall elections. Pointing to the high cost of the recall election spurred by a relatively small number of residents, lawmakers plan to make initiating a recall more difficult.

Even though it failed, Kaplan said California’s recall election could become the muse for similar efforts in other western states that have similar measures available to them, namely Arizona, Oregon and Washington.

“All three of those states permit the recall of state officials,” he said. “Because of the high profile nature and it being a Democratic stronghold, I’d expect to see a lot of attempts at copycat recalls.”

The key difference between California and the three other states is what Golden State lawmakers are looking to change; the low threshold of signatures required to trigger a recall election.

California’s petition requirement is 12% of the total number of those who voted for or against the target of a recall. Arizona and Washington require signatures in the amount of 25% of the last election’s total vote tally. Oregon requires 15% for a statewide officeholder recall.

All three states’ sitting governors have seen at least one recall attempt over the past two years, with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown facing four since 2019.

A May attempt to recall Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was shot down in court. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, saw a recall effort in February fall short of signatures by the deadline. In all four attempts to trigger a recall election in Oregon, Republicans fell short.

All of the recall attempts used the respective governor’s COVID-19 response as justification.



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California’s Real Recall Result Is A Green Light For Tyranny

California voters recommitted their state as a leftist paradise on Tuesday.

On the recall question of Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom, residents overwhelmingly approved the status quo and rejected the initiative nearly 64 to 36 percent, with 68 percent of precincts reporting.

The race was effectively framed as a referendum on Newsom’s aggressive lockdowns, under which California residents suffered some of the most prolonged and stringent restrictions of any state in the country. Indeed, voters surveyed by The New York Times cited the pandemic as their No. 1 issue going into the polls. The effort to force a measure on the ballot 14 months before the next scheduled election picked up steam after the governor was caught flouting his own rules.

Voters, however, not only rejected Newsom’s removal but endorsed the heavy constraints on their own freedoms while excusing their governor’s hypocrisy. The elite disconnect, featuring leftist leaders who dismiss protocols imposed on their servant class, has become a routine practice within the country’s left-wing enclaves.

The results of the California recall contest may be seen as a green light among Democrats nationwide to reimpose harsh restrictions this fall after already implementing mask mandates for the vaccinated. At the end of the day, however, the race all came down to simple math in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 and enjoy supermajorities in the legislature. Democrats merely energized their base, and they turned out. Those Democrats are obviously a different breed than those in Minnesota or Texas, however. It’s easier to gin up turnout among far-left Democrats who faced a genuine conservative as an alternative.

The only national takeaway from Tuesday night is that California is very, very blue. Shocker. But California’s deep-blue color has implications.

Did the vote to save the governor actually reveal a love for Newsom, or just a contempt for neighbor? Newsom’s speech Tuesday night certainly didn’t hide his harsh feelings. The governor ironically branded his opponents as bigoted, anti-science authoritarians.

“We said yes to ending this pandemic. We said yes to peoples’ right to vote without fear of fake fraud, voter suppression. We said yes to women’s fundamental constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body, her fate, and future. We said yes to diversity. We said yes to inclusion. We said yes to pluralism,” Newsom told supporters in Sacramento.

The same governor was silent over the racial attacks against rival candidate and conservative radio host Larry Elder by the LA Times and MSNBC. In August, the state’s flagship paper published a column that labeled Elder as the “Black Face of White Supremacy.”

In California, where voters ultimately favored the leftist status quo, restrictions on liberties are encouraged, elite hypocrisy and hierarchy is excused, rampant homelessness has become normalized, and racism is celebrated so long as the victim bears the opposing political stripe.

Conservatives in the state, meanwhile, face no choice but to leave if they wish to escape the ultra-left rule of Sacramento. In northern California, a movement preceding the recall effort has already been underway among several conservative counties to join “Greater Idaho,” pending an Idaho annexation of counties in eastern Oregon that have been similarly disenfranchised by leftists ruling in Salem.

The political battles emboldening the left, such as the unsuccessful California recall, only stand to exacerbate divisions. In California, the leaders who have cemented their hold on power revealed what a true leftist paradise will look like, creating two classes that illustrate the very form of inequality they claim to despise.





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Media outlets project that Gov. Gavin Newsom has avoided being recalled in California’s gubernatorial recall election

UPDATE: 9/14/21 11:50 p.m. EST:

Media outlets are projecting that Gov. Gavin Newsom has successfully avoided being recalled during California’s gubernatorial recall election.

Original story below:

Large companies and notable figures have chipped in with high-dollar donations to help bolster California Gov. Gavin Newsom during the Golden State’s gubernatorial recall election. Media outlets had not called the election at the time of the publication of this article.

Left-wing billionaire George Soros shelled out $1 million, Priscilla Chan, the wife of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, gave $750,000, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has doled out a whopping $3 million, according to Fox Business, while the San Francisco Chronicle pegged that figure at $3.06 million. Airbnb, Inc. supplied $100,000, NBCUniversal Media, LLC gave $50,000, Warner Bros. gave $40,000, and Anthem Blue Cross gave $100,000.

On the ballot, voters indicated whether they wanted Newsom to be recalled and they voted for a potential replacement candidate. If a majority of votes supported recalling Newsom, he will be ejected from office and the replacement candidate who received the most votes will become the state’s new governor.

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder has emerged as the top contender to replace Newsom in the event that the current governor is removed from office, though polls have indicated that Newsom will be able to hang on to his job.

While Sept. 14 is the day of the election, some Californians voted sooner. Elder tweeted last week that he voted in-person. And according to the California secretary of state’s website, all active registered voters were supposed to have been mailed a vote-by-mail ballot.

If Newsom is ousted from office, he would be removed more than a year before his term is slated to conclude and he would become the second governor to be successfully recalled in the state’s history.

California voters successfully recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and replaced him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Prominent Democratic figures including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and former President Barack Obama have publicly backed Newsom during the recall election.





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Polls are closed in California’s gubernatorial recall race – HotAir

Will we get a call tonight?

If we do, it won’t be the one that Larry Elder is hoping for. There’s a nonzero chance that Newsom loses the recall but no chance at all that he loses it so overwhelmingly that the pros will be able to determine that this evening. Many millions of ballots have been cast by mail in California, remember. The counting will go on for days. If Newsom lost a tight one, it may take a week or more to confirm it.

There’s a fair chance, on the other hand, that he’ll win so decisively that election-watchers will be able to make that call tonight. It depends on what the same-day turnout looks like. If Republicans end up turning out below expectations, or if Dems turn out above expectations, the bar in a deep blue state will be too high for Elder to clear.

The polling lately is grim:

Once Elder jumped out to a big lead on the second ballot question of who should replace Newsom as governor, Newsom smartly reframed the race as a de facto “Newsom or Elder” choice. Having a big-name populist conservative media star as their nominee made things harder for Republicans in a very liberal state. Since then, Newsom has consistently described Elder as Trump but worse, hoping to goose lefties into turning out and casting a hate-vote against the Republican. Some of Newsom’s special guests on the campaign trail have echoed the point:

A poll published over the weekend had Newsom winning handily on the recall question, 60.1/38.5. Is it possible that the polls are badly underestimating the Republicans, just as they badly underestimated Trump (and Susan Collins) last year? For sure. But the polling was accurate in California last fall and it would have to miss by a much bigger margin than it missed in states like Wisconsin in 2020 for Elder to pull the upset. In fact, it would take an historic polling fail. Nate Cohn:

There was no state in either the 2016 or 2020 presidential elections where the final polls missed by 16 percentage points. Perhaps the worst recent polling miss — Senator Susan Collins’s comfortable nine-point victory after trailing in the polls by three points — is in the ballpark, but would still fall five points short of erasing Mr. Newsom’s lead.

Many of the most embarrassing and high-profile misses for pollsters, such as the seven-point polling errors in Wisconsin in 2016 and 2020, might still leave Mr. Newsom with a double-digit victory.

It is hard to find many precedents for such a large polling error. According to Harry Enten, a writer at CNN, there are only four cases in the last 20 years where the polling average in a race for governor was off by at least 15 percentage points.

It’s not an encouraging sign that both Trump and Elder have taken to preemptively crying fraud about the results. In fact, Elder’s campaign has already rolled out a website inviting people to report alleged cases of voter fraud in California. That site is barebones today but some of the language there yesterday suggested Elder is prepared to declare that he was cheated irrespective of the evidence — just like Trump did last fall:

“Statistical analyses used to detect fraud in elections held in 3rd-world nations (such as Russia, Venezuela, and Iran) have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor,” the site reads. “The primary analytical tool used was Benford’s Law and can be readily reproduced.”…

The page suggests voters may turn to the “ammo box” if they can’t trust the ballot box.

“They say that in America, there are four boxes of liberty. The soapbox, the ballot box, the jury box, and the ammo box,” the website reads, pledging to bring legal cases. “Will we now have to fight the California jury box, in the hope that the final box — the one most akin to Pandora’s — remains closed?”

How can a statistical analysis “have detected fraud” in an election whose results aren’t known yet? It can’t, obviously, which makes this the latest reminder that “rigged election” screeching is bad-faith propaganda designed to save face after a disappointing loss. Presumably Elder’s team had already drafted the language they intend to use to allege fraud when the race is eventually called and someone hit “publish” yesterday by accident.

The unsubtle threat of violence is a nice touch, though, since it’s true to the spirit of populism. “The people” can’t be defeated at the ballot box, and if they are, it can only have been due to cheating. In which case “the people” have no choice but to assert their will through other means.

Pundits on both sides are already preparing their spin on the results. If Newsom underperforms, it’ll be treated as a harbinger of Democratic apathy and/or Republican discontent and evidence that a red wave is gathering for next fall. Depending upon how tight the race is, the Dem establishment could find itself in a panic. If Newsom overperforms, California Republicans will be second-guessed for rallying behind a firebrand like Elder instead of a more moderate Republican like Kevin Faulconer. Tim Miller surveyed the electoral map today and noticed that firebrands from either party almost never win in states controlled by the opposition; the only exception is Sherrod Brown, a progressive who somehow keeps hanging onto his seat in Trump-dominated Ohio. Everywhere else that the minority party has managed to elect one of its own to statewide office, it’s done so by nominating a centrist. If Faulconer had been the GOP’s pick instead of Elder, the recall might have remained a referendum on Newsom’s tenure as governor instead of a choice between him and “Trump but worse.” And that would have left Newsom in trouble.

One other detail to watch out for in the results: How strongly do women end up backing Newsom? One recent poll had him winning two-thirds of women in California, a big number that will invite interpretation if he matches it in actual votes. Is it because Elder’s past comments about women alienated those voters? Is it because women who left work during the pandemic to care for out-of-school kids were worried about Elder slashing programs to help them manage? Is it because of the attention paid lately to Texas’s abortion law, with women in California galvanized by the attempt to undo Roe? The takes will be flying tomorrow if the race is called for Newsom tonight.





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Today’s Recall Election Shows California’s One-Party Rule May Stick Around – Reason.com

It’s Election Day in California, where voters will be deciding whether they want Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to finish out his first term, which ends in 2022, or be replaced by one of the 46 replacement candidates.

The latest polls are favorable to Newsom, with 53 percent of voters opting to keep Newsom and 45 percent opting to remove him. If those numbers hold, this is going to be far from a replay of Gov. Gray Davis’ recall in 2003.

Back in July and August it looked pretty dicey for Newsom as undecided voters had started to break toward tossing him. But the latest poll by the national survey company Trafalgar Group has the undecided voters flipping back in his favor, and only 2 percent of those polled remained undecided.

Republican talk show host Larry Elder remains the front-runner as a possible replacement. But Republicans are already blaming voter fraud for a potential loss in a state where mass numbers of citizens in the cities habitually vote blue over and over again. It’s the two-button meme in action: Conservatives regularly decry the state’s citizens favoring progressive candidates and policies that wreck the economy, harm businesses, prevent housing construction, and drive people out of the state. And they’re right! But to also claim that the vote to keep Newsom is fraudulent? Those two ideas don’t combine well. Newsom is not that special or different a politician from the rest of the Democratic establishment in a profoundly blue state.

The voter-fraud excuse, instead of an acceptance of defeat, also makes it harder for candidates like Elder to insist on being seen as independent from former President Donald Trump if Elder’s just going to pursue the same sore-loser tactics.

What might have caused a bit of a secondary shift in undecided voters was the actual statements put out by recall proponents that were then sent out to citizens. The signature-gathering effort began well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, before Newsom used his emergency powers to oppressively lock down the state and then swanned off to The French Laundry for a fancy dinner. It’s a hobby for some folks to try to recall elected officials. Pretty much every year petitions circulate that fail to gather enough signatures. This petition didn’t start off any differently from the others.

But Newsom’s overly zealous authority-mongering in response to COVID-19 made people unhappy enough to push signature gatherers over the edge. This is what proponents circulated to justify the recall:

“Governor Newsom has implemented laws which are detrimental to the citizens of this state and our way of life. Laws he endorsed favor foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens. People in this state suffer the highest taxes in the nation, the highest homelessness rates, and the lowest quality of life as a result. He has imposed sanctuary state status and fails to enforce immigration laws. He unilaterally over-ruled the will of the people regarding the death penalty. He seeks to impose additional burdens on our state by the following; removing the protections of Proposition 13, rationing our water use, increasing taxes and restricting parental rights. Having no other recourse, we the people have come together to take this action, remedy these misdeeds and prevent further injustices.”

Unlike Newsom’s authoritarian COVID-19 response, much of the above is a result of normal representative lawmaking. Legislators, not the governor, implemented sanctuary state laws, for example (though Newsom supports them). Recall proponents are lodging objections to Democratic establishment positions shared not just by Newsom, but by many people in the state. This doesn’t make all the policies good, mind you, but removing the governor isn’t going to fix them, particularly if a majority of Californians support them.

Newsom has essentially campaigned on all of these issues, and defenders are fighting the recall by calling it a Republican takeover attempt. But beyond that, they’re attacking the idea of the recall itself as undemocratic. They’ve gone so far as to tell Newsom supporters to vote no on the recall, all while omitting that they still have the right to vote for a replacement if he loses. If voters follow the advice of CNN and MSNBC commentator, lawyer, and former New York State Assistant Attorney General Tristan Snell they’ll actually lose their opportunity to decide who would replace Newsom if he loses.

This tactic could fuel a potential legal challenge based on the claim that Newsom’s successor is likely to get fewer votes than Newsom. This is not some sort of anti-democratic civil rights atrocity, it’s basic math. If Newsom gets booted from office, it’s because the majority of voters no longer wanted him as governor. Because there are 46 potential replacements, the votes for his successor are likely to be spread around. If they wanted to make sure the winning candidate gets a majority of the vote, the state could implement ranked choice voting.

But that’s not the point. It’s a cynical attack on the process meant to serve as a cover for one political party’s power structure. These are the “anti-democratic” actions and it’s what pushed me over the edge to voting in favor of the recall. Voters sent California’s leadership a message by rejecting many of their favored policies in ballot initiatives last year. Voters rejected efforts to undermine Proposition 13 and exempted independent rideshare drivers from harsh employment laws.

The establishment seems likely to win this evening and, as Reason‘s Matt Welch writes, the likely result will be an attempt to make it harder to bring a recall petition to vote. The Democratic Party in California lost me long ago; I actually partly credit their economic ignorance, complete capture by public sector unions, and oppressive regulatory practices for helping me realize I’m a libertarian.





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