Harmeet Dhillon

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Harmeet Dhillon
Harmeet Dhillon speaks at the White House's Social Media Summit (cropped).png
Dhillon speaks at the White House's Social Media Summit in 2019
Republican National Committeewoman
from California
Assumed office
July 19, 2016
Serving with Shawn Steel
Preceded byLinda Ackerman
Personal details
Born
Harmeet Kaur Dhillon

1969 (age 50–51)
Chandigarh, Punjab, India
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Kanwarjit Singh (divorced)[1]
Sarvjit Randhawa (2011)[2]
ResidenceSan Francisco, California
Sea Ranch, California
Alma materDartmouth College
University of Virginia
ProfessionAttorney
Websitewww.dhillonlaw.com

Harmeet Kaur Dhillon (born 1969) is an American lawyer and Republican Party official. She is the former vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party, and the National Committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California.[3][4] She owns a law practice called Dhillon Law Group Inc.[5], and in 2018 helped launch the non-profit Center for American Liberty, which does legal work related to civil liberties.[6] She is a Fox News contributor.[7]

During the coronavirus pandemic, she filed numerous unsuccessful lawsuits to halt the implementation of Stay Home Orders, as well as other emergency restrictions implemented to halt the spread of the coronavirus. She criticized requirements that people wear face masks (claiming that "the masks don't work"), called for the re-opening of the economy, and criticized voting reforms intended to make it easier to vote through postal voting at a time when in-person voting posed a public health risk.[7][8][9]

Early life and education[edit]

Dhillon was born in Chandigarh, India in 1969.[10] Her family moved to the U.S. when she was a child so that her father could pursue a career as an orthopedic surgeon. Her family eventually settled in Smithfield, North Carolina. After finishing high school at age 16, she attended college at Dartmouth. She became a writer and eventually editor-in-chief at The Dartmouth Review. After graduating, she attended law school at the University of Virginia.[10]

Legal career and political activism[edit]

Political involvement[edit]

In 2008, Dhillon ran for a seat in the California Assembly. She lost the race but exceeded expectations by garnering 17% of the vote in her heavily Democratic district.[11] She ran for the California Senate in 2012, but she was unsuccessful.[12] She served as the chair of the San Francisco Republican Party.[6]

Dhillon became a board member of the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union after the September 11 attacks, in connection with her work on discrimination against Sikhs and other South Asians, and stayed on the board for three years.[6][12] She has been heavily criticized by Republican activists for her ties to the ACLU, as well as her past contributions to the political campaigning of Kamala Harris.[13]

Dhillon was chosen to be a member of the California Republican Party's Board in 2013; she became the National Committeewoman for the Republican National Committee in 2016.[4][6] She also gave the opening prayer at the 2016 Republican National Convention.[14]

In early 2017, Dhillon interviewed to be the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Department of Justice.[15] She ultimately was not nominated for the position.

Dhillon led the successful effort to remove Chad Mayes as the California State Assembly Republican caucus leader in August 2017.[16][17]

On July 11, 2019, Dhillon was introduced by President Donald Trump and gave a speech at the President's "Social Media Summit".[18][8] Dhillon is a co-chair of Women for Trump.[6] She has described Laura Ingraham as a "long time mentor."[7]

Lawsuits[edit]

Dhillon filed a lawsuit in April 2017 against University of California, Berkeley on behalf of the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) and Young America's Foundation for freedom of speech issues, particularly the school cancelling Ann Coulter's speech quoting security reasons.[19] The suit was settled in December 2018, with Dhillon arguing that it had forced the university to change its policies about controversial speakers, whereas the university maintained that it had already been following the amended policies before.[20]

In August 2017, James Damore, the Google memo writer, hired Dhillon to be his lawyer against Google. Dhillon's firm has said it is also willing to represent more employees from Google that have similar stories to Damore.[21] though Dhillon has already lost an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board.[22] Damore's lawsuit against Google also was dismissed pursuant to a mandatory arbitration clause; however, the case continues without him.[23][24]

Conservative social media activist/Journalist Andy Ngo retained Dhillon as his attorney after being assaulted on the street in Portland, Oregon, in June 2019.[25] In June 2020, Dhillon filed suit on behalf of Ngo against antifa seeking $900,000 in damages for assault and emotional distress, and an injunction to prevent further harassment. The lawsuit cites Rose City Antifa, five other named defendants, and additional unknown assailants. It stems from multiple alleged attacks on Ngo in Portland during 2019, and accuses Rose City Antifa in particular of a "pattern of racketeering activities".[26]

Coronavirus pandemic[edit]

During the coronavirus pandemic, Dhillon was behind many lawsuits challenging Stay Home Orders enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic to halt the spread of the virus.[7] By June 2020, she had filed more than a dozen lawsuits against California.

On April 13 and 24, 2020, Dhillon filed suits against the state of California challenging its Stay Home Order.[27][6][8] On behalf of two pastors in Riverside County, two parishioners in San Bernardino County, and seven businesses, including restaurants, a pet-grooming shop and a gondola company, she argued that their constitutional rights were being violated.[27] Dhillon also filed lawsuits against the governors of New Jersey and Virginia over their restrictions on religious services.[6] Most of these lawsuits were filed through the Center for American Liberty.[6] Dhillon later argued that her lawsuits led to "large sectors of California’s economy opening up much sooner than the governor originally intended", which however in the assessment of The New York Times contributed to an "alarming surge in cases" in the second half of June.[28] She criticized California's decision to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters for the 2020 election due to the public health risks of in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.[29] In July 2020, it was reported that she was suing state and local governments in California to keep nail salons and barbers open during the pandemic, and to prevent the closure of schools during the pandemic.[30][31]

In May 2020, Dhillon criticized Virginia for requiring the use of face masks in public. She claimed that "the masks don't work."[32]

In June 2020, she criticized California for requiring the use of face masks in public when individuals were unable to physically distance.[33] She argued that people should be free to make their own decisions.[9] She called on California to reopen its economy even though coronavirus cases were surging.[9] In July 2020, she said that she was considering filing a lawsuit over a restriction on singing or chanting in church to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.[34]

She filed a lawsuit against Hawaii when the state required that visitors to Hawaii undergo quarantine upon arrival. In July 2020, a judge ruled that the emergency mandate was a reasonable response to the public health threat posed by the coronavirus.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Levine, Daniel S. "Harmeet Dhillon: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Republican activist takes on class-action suit against Google". India Abroad.
  3. ^ Mehta, Seema (July 19, 2016). "California lawyer delivers Sikh prayer at GOP convention". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  4. ^ a b "National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon". GOP. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  5. ^ "Litigation Boutique Firm - Legal Services | Dhillon Law Group". Dhillon Law Group. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Ronayne, Kathleen (May 29, 2020). "GOP lawyer fights California governor on stay-at-home orders". Associated Press. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  7. ^ a b c d "Churches, gunshops and irate brides: All the shutdown lawsuits against Newsom, explained". abc10.com. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  8. ^ a b c Marinucci, Carla (May 29, 2020). "Conservatives turn to San Francisco lawyer to fight coronavirus orders". Politico. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "Reactions to Gov. Newsom's Statewide Mask Mandate". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  10. ^ a b Anderson, Bruce (May 2013). "The Outsider". Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  11. ^ Garofoli, Joe (Apr 24, 2011). "Harmeet Dhillon, Republican leader with S.F. twist". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  12. ^ a b Anderson, Bruce. "Former Review editor Harmeet Dhillon '89 leads the Republican Party in one of the nation's most liberal cities". Dartmouth Alumni magazine. Retrieved 2017-08-01. MAY - JUN 2013
  13. ^ "S.F. GOP leader SLAMMED by Republicans". SF Gate. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  14. ^ "California lawyer delivers Sikh prayer at GOP convention". Los Angeles Times. 2016-07-19. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  15. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (March 10, 2017). "Harmeet Dhillon, California Republican leader, a candidate for Justice Department post". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  16. ^ Megerian, Chris. "California Republicans tell Assembly GOP leader Chad Mayes to step down". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  17. ^ "California Republican lawmakers oust Chad Mayes over climate-deal rift". The Mercury News. 2017-08-24. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  18. ^ July 11, Ian Schwartz On Date; 2019. "Full Video: President Trump Speaks At Social Media Summit At White House". www.realclearpolitics.com. Retrieved 2019-07-22.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Svrluga, Susan; Wan, William (2017-04-24). "Lawsuit filed against UC Berkeley for canceling Ann Coulter speech". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  20. ^ "Conservative groups settle campus bias suit with UC Berkeley". SFChronicle.com. 2018-12-04. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  21. ^ "The Google mmo writer has hired a GOP official to be his lawyer and she's already gathering facts". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  22. ^ "Google Legally Fired Diversity Memo Author, Labor Agency Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  23. ^ "Google's Fired Engineer Exits Lawsuit for Arbitration". Mercury News. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  24. ^ Hopkins, Anna (2019-06-10). "Judge rules lawsuit accusing Google of bias against conservatives can proceed". Fox News. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  25. ^ Melanie Woodrow (July 1, 2019). "Portland journalist Andy Ngo speaks out, says Antifa behind attack". KGO-TV. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  26. ^ Thompson, Don (June 5, 2020). "Portland conservative writer suing 'antifa' for injuries". KATU. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  27. ^ a b Egelko, Bob. "California experts question legal basis for Barr's plan to challenge coronavirus shelter orders". Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  28. ^ Hubler, Shawn; Fuller, Thomas (2020-06-29). "'Our Luck May Have Run Out': California's Case Count Explodes". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  29. ^ Marinucci, Carla. "Conservatives turn to San Francisco lawyer to fight coronavirus orders". POLITICO. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  30. ^ "Parents sue Newsom over pandemic school closure order". FOX 5 San Diego. 2020-07-24. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  31. ^ "Salon Owners Protest For Indoor Re-openings In Southern California". California Globe. 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  32. ^ "Fox News' Laura Ingraham claims Democrats will make Americans wear masks 'forever'". theweek.com. 2020-05-27. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  33. ^ "California's mask order tests the limits of Newsom's executive power". Los Angeles Times. 2020-06-29. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  34. ^ "Church singing ban strikes sour note with California pastor". ABC News. 2020. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  35. ^ "Federal judge rules Hawaii's quarantine is reasonable during coronavirus pandemic". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 2020-07-03. Retrieved 2020-07-13.

External links[edit]