California secretary of state Shirley Weber is at the center of a lawsuit filed by conservative think tank National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), which filed a lawsuit on November 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The lawsuit aims to block a law that forces publicly held corporations in the state to have quotas for appointing board members based only on their race and sexual orientation.
According to The Epoch Times, the law was the result of the race issues stemming from Black Lives Matters and Antifa revolts that led to over $2 billion in property damage. Weber, who is described by the report as a "radical left-wing academic before entering politics," is at the center of the lawsuit.
She served as a member of the California State Assembly until January this year, before rising up to the position of California secretary of state. As secretary of state, Weber championed AB 3121, a law that ordered the establishment of a task force "to develop proposals to pay reparations to blacks to compensate them for having ancestors a century and a half ago who were enslaved."
Weber's law, which passed last year, claims that California has an "ugly past" and that it must confront its "systemic injustice."
The lawsuit against Weber was filed by the NCPPR, a pro-free market research and shareholder advocacy organization that is being represented by Sacramento-based Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF). Together, they argue that the new law ordering corporations to hire gays to their boards, known as AB 979, "perpetuates discrimination by treating people based on their immutable characteristics, and not as individuals."
Similarly, California's SB 826 has required corporations in the state to meet a certain quota of female board members or be subjected to fines. This law is currently being challenged by PLF client and shareholder activist Creighton Meland in the same U.S. district court. California attempted to have the case dismissed but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit unanimously decided that a shareholder of a company headquartered in California may file a lawsuit over the measure.
Meanwhile, AB 979, which is ordering corporations to hire LGBT persons to their boards, was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in September 2020. Back then, the Democratic governor said that he signed it into law to advance "racial justice." But the NCPPR disagrees, citing that it was wrong to use "government coercion to enforce diversity."
According to WND, the NCPPR reasoned that the law will apply to all California businesses regardless if there is evidence of discrimination based on gender identity. It argued in the lawsuit, "These laws, which dole out benefits and impose burdens on the basis of race, sex, and sexual orientation, are unconstitutional."
The Sacramento Bee reported that NCPPR said it invests in 14 California corporations that would be affected by the law. These corporations include Big Tech giants such as Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Tesla, Twitter and Wells Fargo. This isn't the first time the law ordering corporations to hire LGBT people to their boards was legally challenged. Last year, conservative legal group Judicial Watch also submitted a challenge to the measure.