January 4, 2020

New Year; New Realities for Final ERA Ratification

By Kamala, Natalie and EME team

Happy New Year! We wish you good health and great happiness in this new year and decade.

We face 2020 with determination and absolute certainty that ERA will be ratified this year and become the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution after centuries of exclusion. ☺

But make no mistake, Equality Warrior, this fight is far from over. In fact, it’s just heating up.

On December 29th, three state Attorneys General filed suit to block ERA from being added to the Constitution.

From the start of this fight we have known the final say for ERA would end up coming from the courts, even if Congress voted to extend or remove what we argue is an unconstitutional deadline. Now, thanks to Alabama’s AG, here we are, even before we deliver Virginia and the 38th state.

This is no longer a hypothetical; the fight for ERA has moved to the courts and needs to be immediately addressed with extreme care and diligence.

“At this time, only the courts can write the ERA into the Constitution of the United States,” said Wendy Murphy, legal counsel for Equal Means Equal and lead attorney for the group’s soon to be filed the ERA lawsuit.

“Best intentions aside, the ERA legislation will never make it out of the Senate, and even if we had the votes, we would still land in court arguing about the deadline,” Murphy, a Boston-based attorney, said. “The work of Congress is done. It is now up to the states alone to decide whether the Constitution should be amended.”

Here are some important facts to remember about the looming legal battle:

  •  Article V of the Constitution does not grant Congress the authority to impose deadlines on the state ratification process, and Supreme Court precedent on the issue is old and weak.
  • The last amendment ratified, the Madison Amendment, took them 204 years to ratify which basically contradicts their main argument.
  • The deadline on ERA was enacted as an entirely separate bill from the ERA itself, which means the Congress deprived the States of their equal role in the amendatory process, and even denied the states an opportunity to approve, or not, the imposition of a deadline on their sovereign right to decide whether to ratify.
  • The Constitution is clear that upon reaching ratification of 3/4ths (38) of the States, the amendment shall be adopted. It’s not “will be adopted if we feel like it or agree with it.”

Attorney General Marshall and his anti-equality buddies just threw down the gauntlet, removing any pretense that these people care about or support women or our rights.  Now we must meet this disgraceful suit with a no-holds-barred legal response from pro-ERA forces. We can’t afford to be naive in this political climate.

There is no doubt that this is a dangerous political trick to subvert the will of the voters who, after waiting 243 years, overwhelmingly demand equality under law, regardless of sex.  We must fight back together immediately.

What you can do:

Come to Richmond January 8th and rally with us outside the Capitol to congratulate new pro-ERA legislators and urge them to vote on ERA right away.  Buses are leaving from Norfolk/Williamsburg, Northern Virginia/Fredericksburg, and Charlottesville. – sign up for your seat today!

Join us in Richmond any day starting January 9th and stand vigil with us, outside the Capitol until ERA is fully ratified Sign up here to stand with us and our friends at VARatifyERA.

With love and thanks

Kamala, Natalie and EME team