ERA Backers Still Trying to Win Ratification for Expired Amendment
Backers of the Equal Rights Amendment are not giving up their fight to get the 50-year-old proposal ratified and inserted into the Constitution.
Their most recent effort to keep the “zombie ERA” moving forward: the House voted 222-204 to remove the long-expired 1982 ratification deadline. The thinking is that now, nothing will stand in the way of states finally will pass an amendment whose time has passed.
And never mind the U.S. district court judge who said the amendment is deader than Jacob Marley:
Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington, DC, wrote that a “ratification deadline in a proposing resolution’s introduction is just as effective as one in the text of a proposed amendment.”
“Plaintiffs’ ratifications came after both the original and extended deadlines that Congress attached to the ERA, so the Archivist is not bound to record them as valid,” he concluded.
The judge dismissed the case, also writing that the plaintiffs “lack standing to sue” because the archivist’s “refusal to publish and certify the ERA thus does not cause them a concrete injury that could be remedied by ordering him to act.”
Of course, ERA backers could start the ratification process from scratch, as the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a long-time supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, suggested Monday night that the deadline to ratify the measure as a constitutional amendment has expired and that the decades-long effort must start anew.
“I would like to see a new beginning,” Ginsburg told an audience at Georgetown University Law Center.
“I’d like it to start over,” she added.
That would take a great deal of work – not just to get a new amendment through Congress, but then to get the necessary number of states to ratify the proposal. ERA advocates are trying to create a shortcut where none exists.