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Judge Rules Landmark California Corporate Diversity Law Unconstitutional

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Los Angeles judge ruled Friday that California's landmark law mandating that corporations diversify their boards with members from certain racial, ethnic or LGBT groups is unconstitutional.

The brief ruling granted summary judgment to Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that sought a permanent injunction against the measure that was signed into law last year. The ruling didn't explain the judge's reasoning.

The measure requires publicly traded corporate boards to have a member from an "underrepresented community," including LGBT, Black, Latino, Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander.

The lawsuit argued that violated the state's constitutional equal protection clause.

The decision "declared unconstitutional one of the most blatant and significant attacks in the modern era on constitutional prohibitions against discrimination," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.

Messages seeking comment from the state weren't immediately returned Friday evening.

However, in its court filings, the state argued that the measure didn't "discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting."

The state also argued that no tax dollars actually had been used to enforce the measure.

A related Judicial Watch lawsuit in Los Angeles challenges another law requiring a woman director on corporate boards.

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