A California Superior Court judge declared the law unconstitutional, the second loss for the state on a series of nearly identical equity laws.
The law, originally signed in 2018 by former California Governor Jerry Brown, mandated that corporate boards with at least five directors have a minimum of two female directors by 2021.
Corporations that failed to meet the requirements would face fines of up to $300,000 per violation from the state.
The lawsuit was brought by conversative activist group Judicial Watch on behalf of three California residents, according to the Daily Caller.
BREAKING @JudicialWatch Victory: @AP reporting court rules gender quota mandate for corporate boards in California unconstitutional. This comes on heels of another victory against unconstitutional quotas based on race and lgbt status. https://t.co/siZOAigVfD https://t.co/7ZgLAgfiGv— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) May 16, 2022
The law is remarkably similar to one struck down last month in a separate ruling that mandated racial or ethnic diversity on boards.
Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis wrote in her verdict that the state did not prove the law “meets a compelling interest, is necessary, and is narrowly tailored”.
A spokesperson for California’s Secretary of State said its counsel was reviewing the verdict.