Posted on May 31, 2023

California’s Unconstitutional, Morally Repugnant Racist Quotas Thrown Out by Federal Court

Hans von Spakovsky and Abigail Carr, Washington Times, May 30, 2023

How far will California go to enforce unfair and discriminatory racial and gender quotas? Until recently, the Golden State was willing to fine corporations up to $300,000 if they didn’t engage in such inequitable behavior.

Fortunately, on May 15, a federal district court put an end to that. In Alliance for Fair Board Recruitment v. Weber, it struck down a state statute that required racial and gender-identity quotas for board members of publicly held corporations in California. The court ruled that this quota statute violates the U.S. Constitution as well as federal civil rights law.

The 2020 statute, AB 979, required California corporations to have as members on their board of directors individuals from supposedly “underrepresented groups,” including “an individual who identifies as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, [or] gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.”

The number of directors needed to satisfy these quotas was determined by the size of the corporation, but a minimum of one to three members was required. This racist statute went so far as to impose fines ranging from $100,000 to $300,000 for noncompliance.

After this law took effect in 2020, the Alliance for Fair Board Recruitment, which is “composed of individuals who do not self-identify into one” of the statute’s groups, sued California Secretary of State Shirley Weber. The alliance argued that this quota system violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees every American “equal protection of the laws,” as well as 42 U.S.C. § 1981.


Judge John Mendez concluded that AB 979’s racial and gender quota system violates the 14th Amendment and § 1981 and that the alliance was entitled to “summary judgment in its favor … as a matter of law.”

California actually conceded that AB 979 “constitutes a racial classification” system, but tried to argue that it was “permissible because it is aimed at remedying past discrimination.” But Judge Mendez wasn’t buying it, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has “rejected racial and ethnic quotas” on multiple occasions as “facially invalid” and unconstitutional, including in cases arising in California.