Liberals have long called for the ratification of the decades-old Equal Rights Amendment, and such calls only escalated when another state voted to pass the measure last month. But according to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the ERA may be DOA.
“I would like to see a new beginning,” Ginsburg announced Monday in a talk at Georgetown University Law Center, according to the Washington Examiner. “I’d like it to start over.”
“Too much controversy”
The amendment was originally proposed a century ago and was passed by Congress in March 1972. Its terms required at least 38 states to ratify it by 1979, a deadline that was later extended until 1982.
Last month, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify, according to The Hill, with the state’s House speaker, Eileen Filler-Corn (D), declaring: “As we enter this new, more inclusive, diverse, and accountable government that mirrors the values of today’s Virginians, it is important that our actions reflect those ideals.”
Filler-Corn went on: “After nearly 100 years of working to put equality into the Constitution, a document that lays out our nation’s most fundamental rights and laws, we are taking the historic step to make ratification a reality. Finally, women will be represented in the Constitution.”
But that step came 38 years after the aforementioned deadline. What’s more, multiple states that ratified the amendment have since passed legislation rescinding their ratification, according to Business Insider — a fact Ginsburg noted.
“There’s too much controversy about latecomers,” the 86-year-old justice said. “Plus, a number of states have withdrawn their ratification. So if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard states that said, ‘We’ve changed our minds?'”
Deadline long passed
Conservatives have long argued against the ERA, with some fearing that it would permanently enshrine abortion rights in the Constitution. Others have suggested that it could lead to women being required to register for the draft.
“The ERA does nothing for true equality of women,” Republican Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase said, according to CBS 6 in Richmond, “but uses women as a political pawn to push the liberal agenda.”
The Trump Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel argued in an official opinion in January that since Congress exercised its “authority to impose a deadline for ratifying a proposed constitutional amendment” with the ERA, the measure is now null and void.
“Because three-fourths of the state legislatures did not ratify before the deadline that Congress imposed, the Equal Rights Amendment has failed of adoption and is no longer pending before the [s]tates,” the department wrote. “Accordingly, even if one or more state legislatures were to ratify the proposed amendment, it would not become part of the Constitution.”
It looks like the jury is out: in Ginsburg’s words, if liberals want to get this one through, they’ll have to “start over.”