Two Democrats have proposed resolutions – and they’ve gotten dozens more to sign them – that would bring a zombie Equal Rights Amendment back to Congress on the claim it needs approval from only one more state to become part of the Constitution.
The ERA is the controversial proposal from the 1970s that would amend the U.S. Constitution to state, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Robert Marshall, a former member of the Virginia General Assembly, said its “simplistic language” actually “hid a radical progressive social agenda.”
“Amendments were rejected to exempt women from frontline ground combat duty, to require husbands to support their children, to keep certain sexual assaults as crimes, to neutralize ERA’s effect on abortion, to exempt private schools from the ERA, to protect tax-exempt status of churches that have male-only clergy, to permit different insurance rates for men and women, and to deny men access to women’s private facilities and vice versa.”
But now congressional joint resolutions from Rep. Jackie Speier and Sen. Ben Cardin, both Democrats, claim that “whenever 38 states ‘ratify’ the version of the ERA submitted to the states on March 22, 1972, the ERA will be added to the Constitution.”
Marshall explained in his writings at the Federalist it probably won’t be that simple.
First, the congressional deadline for the measure to be approved by 38 states or die was in 1982.
Then there are the five states that approved it and then rescinded that approval.
The ERA back in the day was defeated in large part because of Phyllis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum opposition.
At the time, ERA supporters admitted it was dead without the proper support by the deadline.
For example, Marjorie Bell, head of the American Association of University Women at the time, confirmed, “Failure to extend now the time limit for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment would terminate – what Congress initiated.”
At the time, only 35 states approved, and in recent years, two more states joined, but at the same time, ratifications from Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky and South Dakota were withdrawn.
Marshall wrote, “ERA proponents now claim they need only add three more states to the original 35 which ratified by 1982 (ignoring the five states rescinding approval), to reach the 38 states required to add the ERA to ‘their’ Constitution!”
He explained the wild claim comes from the adoption of the 27th Amendment limiting congressional pay, which was proposed 200 years ago and eventually approved in 1992.
But it included no ratification deadline, such as the ERA had.
“Liberals are counting the actions by Nevada’s legislature (2017), and Illinois’ legislature (2018) allegedly ratifying the non-pending ERA as two of the three states they contend will bring them to the 38 state requirement,” Marshall explained.
WND reported last summer that legislative attorney Jon Shimabukuro of the Congressional Research Service wrote about the challenges ERA proponents face years after the deadline for ratification expired.
“Thirty-seven states have now ratified the ERA, and some supporters of the amendment maintain that ratification by just one additional state could result in its adoption. … Whether the ERA can be so adopted, however, is not entirely certain,” he wrote at the time.
“Questions concerning the expiration of Congress’s original ratification deadline without approval by three-fourths of the states, and the rescission of ratifications by five states between 1973 and 1978, would likely have to be addressed before the ERA would be formally adopted.”
An entirely new resolution from Congress and ratification campaign may be needed, the CRS report suggested.
Moving forward otherwise would invite legal challenges over the deadline, the time frame, the states that rescinded their endorsement and more, he said.