Georgetown Law hosts ERA conference to strategize for the future

Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) join moderators for a discussion on the ERA.

Last Friday, April 12th, Georgetown Law, in partnership with the ERA Project at Columbia Law, hosted an inspiring conference entitled, “The Present and Future of the Equal Rights Amendment,” bringing together distinguished legal scholars, members of Congress, and political organizers to discuss the critical need for the ERA. The Columbia ERA Project, established in 2021, has been working tirelessly to raise awareness about the need to develop gender-based policies and justice.

Keynote remarks from Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01) reminded us about the importance of the grassroots initiatives and the current strategies dedicated to enshrining the ERA into the Constitution, including the joint resolution in both the House and Senate to remove the timeline and the House discharge petition to bring the ERA to the floor for a vote. Rep. Jennifer McClellan (VA-04) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) also both recorded video messages to share their personal commitments to the ERA. 

The unique circumstances surrounding the history of the ERA continue to make it the center of an extensive conversation in constitutional law and at the forefront of the fight for gender equality. The conference began with a panel of legal experts who explored the path the ERA has taken over the past 100 years and the ERA’s impact on our current democracy. The ERA is argued to have faced the most roadblocks as an amendment and yet has also received the most bipartisan support. As discussed in the panel, a proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the states, or 38. The main legal disagreements surrounding the ERA have focused on the arbitrary timeline for ratification included in the preamble to the amendment when it passed Congress in 1972. Since the time limit was not included in the text of the amendment, the states did not vote on that language and it is not considered binding. Therefore, the ERA has met all requirements necessary to be a certified amendment to the US Constitution. 

What can you contribute to the movement: 

  • Sign the petition at SignERA: This is a petition dedicated to raising awareness and support for the importance of certifying the ERA as the 28th amendment. 
  • Campus organizing: Students can start their own Sign4ERA petition campaign on their college campus!
  • Reach out to your representatives: Rep. Pressley and Rep. Bush have both encouraged constituents to contact their elected officials to urge them to join the ERA Congressional Caucus. In addition, constituents can also inquire about where their representatives stand on the issue and if they have signed the discharge petition. 

Thank you to Victoria Nourse, a dedicated ERA activist, for hosting this event!

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