By BRIAN MELLEY
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When California’s former Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation’s first law requiring women on boards of publicly traded companies three years ago, he suggested it might not survive legal challenges. On Wednesday a judge begins hearing evidence of whether the law violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution by mandating a gender-based quota. The law requires companies headquartered in California to have up to three women board members by January. More women have been named to corporate boards in California since the law was signed in 2018. The law is being challenged by a conservative legal group.