Two Democratic women have introduced a bill into California’s state senate to fight perceived gender discrimination. The bill, SB 826, would require California corporations to have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of next year. This quota system would apply to all California-headquartered corporations that sell stock on a major U.S. exchange.
There is just one problem with this bill — it’s unconstitutional.
Countries such as Iceland, Norway and France are touted as world leaders in female representation in their major companies due to their quota system, but Democrats forget the same cannot legally be implemented in the United States.
The government cannot tell private companies who to hire without violating the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.
The Supreme Court’s landmark 1996 ruling in United States v. Virginia set precedent that any gender-based distinctions in the law can be upheld only if there is am “exceedingly persuasive justification” for treating men and women differently.
The government cannot tell the private sector what it can and cannot do without clear evidence that a specific company engaged in gender discrimination, and without evidence that the only way to prevent such discrimination is by passing quota laws.
There is no question women are underrepresented in the United States’ corporate boardroom, where they held 16.6 percent of corporate board seats in 2015.
The question is, are Democrats willing to address the issue in a way that doesn’t undermine the Constitution?
Back to the brainstorming table, California.