Courts Politics

Attorneys General File Landmark ERA Lawsuit

Three attorneys general that represent the last three states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) have filed a lawsuit stating that according to Article V, the amendment must be added to the Constitution immediately. This lawsuit was brought forth by Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford. Herring emphasized the importance of advocating for the ERA, stating that “Virginians have made it clear that it is their will that the ERA be ratified, and I now have the great honor of continuing that fight.”

On January 15, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which is the final state needed for ratification of the federal ERA to grant the equal protection of women. The amendment passed in Congress in 1972, and a seven year deadline was put in place as it went to the states for ratification. However, supporters of the ERA argue that the seven year deadline is unconstitutional because the deadline is not a Constitutional requirement.

The deadline for ratification was then extended to 1982, but only 35 of the 38 states needed to ratify the ERA met this new deadline. Nevada and Illinois ratified the ERA in the last three years, and Virginia was the last to do so this past Monday in a crossover vote. However, the U.S. Justice Department released an opinion in early January that the ERA can no longer be ratified since the deadline for ratification expired decades ago.

There are numerous ways in which this case could move forward, including moving through the court system and eventually making its way to the Supreme Court. Currently, there is resolution in the House that would remove the arbitrary timeline, which will be brought to the floor or a vote in the near future.

Sources: Feminist Newswire 1/15/20; The Washington Post 1/27/20; The Washington Post 1/8/20; The Washington Post 1/30/20.

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