The Roundtable Joins “Chorus of Unified Voices” in the Ninth Circuit

The Roundtable Joins “Chorus of Unified Voices” in the Ninth Circuit

Sep 18, 2020 Debi Ghate

The Roundtable hasn’t had the opportunity to file many amicus briefs in support of legal challenges that affect the philanthropic freedom of donors to give to causes they value and to be free of restriction or intimidation in doing so. But we were recently contacted by American JurisLink, a 501(c)(3) that provides support services to public interest law groups. They asked if we would consider filing a brief in support of a case being brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation. What kind of case would get us to take this step? Here’s a summary from American JurisLink:

 

Uniting Lawyers, Clients, and Supporters to Fight Quotas

Instead of viewing the sexes equally under the law, the State of California treats females differently from males. The State imposes women quotas on boards of directors for certain companies, perpetuating the myth that women cannot become leaders without an artificial advantage. Last year, when Daniel Ortner at  Pacific Legal Foundation asked us for help finding the right client to file an equal protection lawsuit, we connected him with Creighton Meland, a shareholder at a company subject to the sex quota. This year, the district court dismissed their case on procedural grounds, but PLF appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court.

Circuit courts can be persuaded by a chorus of unified voices spoken through amicus briefs. Knowing this, Daniel called on us again to help drive amicus briefs. We identified supporters like the Independent Women’s Law Center and Goldwater Institute, whose lawyers filed amicus briefs in PLF’s case.

 

The Roundtable has been anticipating that mandated quotas of various types will be attempted to be passed into legislation in states such as California. Said Christie Herrera, vice president of Policy and Government Affairs, “We’ve been tracking potential efforts to introduce governance-related mandates and knew that this was one case that could start a slippery slope affecting all kinds of charitable organizations. We got in touch with American JurisLink, and they connected us Tom McCarthy, who worked with us to get an amicus brief on behalf of the Roundtable. American JurisLink was a critical partner during the process and we are grateful for their support.”

The Roundtable thought it was important to file a brief in the Meland v. Padilla case to make sure the Court knows we're here to protect philanthropic freedom, and liberty more generally. The case is challenging the state's "woman's quota" board requirements for public companies--which will impact the philanthropic sector if left unchallenged. And that’s an impact the Roundtable is committed to help the sector avoid if possible.

The appeal is still pending.