“California Bill Would Mandate Gender Quotas For Publicly Traded Companies”

“Earlier this month, California Senators Hannah-Beth Jackson and Toni G. Atkins introduced a bill, SB 826, that would require a publicly held corporation with its principal places of business in California to have a minimum number of women directors.” [Keith Paul Bishop, Cal Corporate Law, via Prof. Bainbridge, who asks: “How is this constitutional?”]


  • Doesn’t that violate ADA? How can the state sponsor a quota and leave out all other “protected” classes? Since I am male and disabled they are taking google and apple right out of my hands… I mean obviously they were going to call me tomorrow before this stupid law… 😉

    • A director need not be an employee.

  • Since it’s California, there’s an easy loophole around this one. If too many of your directors are males, then just have a few of them say they now identify as female. Presto! Problem solved.

  • Don’t gender-balance requirements and other government-mandated gender quotas violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause? Courts have struck down such balance requirements, even when the government just applies them to itself, such as government boards. See, e.g., Back v. Carter, 933 F.Supp. 738 (N.D. Ind. 1996). They seem even more suspect as applied to private businesses. See, e.g., Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod v. FCC, 141 F.3d 344 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (overturning gender and race diversity mandates as applied to regulated entities); Lamprecht v. FCC, 958 F.3d 382 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (striking down gender-based preference for broadcasters imposed in name of diversity).

    • What’s law got to do with it? There’s an election in a few months, and the sponsors need something to run on which is popular with their base.

      Back in 1954, a guy named Orville Faubus was elected Governor of Arkansas. Faubus was a New Deal Democrat. He had, also, attended Commonwealth College in Mena, Arkansas. That college had been formed by leftist academics, some of whom were later identified as Communist Party members. In 1956, Sylvan Hills H.S. opened in Pulaski County, Arkansas. It opened with an integrated faculty and student body (it was in the poor area of the county, so everyone got one school to share). In 1957, the Eisenhower administration was looking for a place in the South, to force integration to apply the Brown v Board of Education decision (that case arose in Kansas). Since there was already an integrated public H.S. in Pulaski County, Arkansas, it was decided to force the integration of Central H.S., which is also in Pulaski County (albeit, in another, richer, school district), since no significant opposition was anticipated. In Sept. 1957, as 9 black students walked up to the entrance for Central H.S., they were blocked by Orville and members of the Arkansas National Guard Soldiers (in state status). The National Guard Soldiers were promptly mobilized into federal service, and ordered to turn around and help clear a path for the student. Orville, however, had proven that he wasn’t a closet Commie (or liberal), and went on to repeatedly win re-election as Governor, until his retirement in 1967. (As an aside, Orville was a public school teacher before becoming a politician, and his annual salary was $10,000/year as Governor. He left office a $Millionaire).

      You just need an issue. People don’t vote for obeying the Constitution.

      • wfjag wrote

        Orville, however, had proven that he wasn’t a closet Commie (or liberal), and went on to repeatedly win re-election as Governor, until his retirement in 1967.

        Largely true conclusion, but your recounting omits some salient facts which explain some of the events.

        In 1956, James Douglas “Justice Jim” Johnson (1924–2010), a rabid white supremacist ran against Faubus for governor, but lost. Johnson had just recently, in 1955, formed the “Capitol Citizens Council” (in imitation of Mississippi’s “White Citizens Council”. The Capitol Citizens Council (all 514 of them) disrupted the otherwise very successful 1955 school integration in Hoxie, AR (a small town in northern AR).

        Johnson then buffaloed and bamboozled Faubus into refusing integration in Little Rock by calling for massive protests from “Citizens Councils”. Without Johnson’s candidacy for governor, and his “Citizens Council” raising havoc in LR, Faubus would likely have not turned the students away.

        Faubus was a decent man, if not an avowed “integrationist” (politically very difficult in that time and place). For example, he ended the Poll Tax for voter registration. But he also wanted to be re-elected governor in 1958. He had considerable support from black voters in his later years in office.

        I was there (in AR, not Little Rock) in the 1950s. I’ve always had the (unprovable) opinion that Faubus viewed Eisenhower’s federalizing the National Guard with relief. It got Jim Johnson out of his way.

        “Justice Jim” Johnson was the real villain, with a very ugly political base. Johnson was never elected governor. In the 1966 he became the first Democrat since Reconstruction to lose to a Republican. But he did considerable damage in other offices, including the AR Supreme Court.

        The real heroes of the time were the Little Rock Nine, the students who integrated Central High School.