It’s Mayday for the ERA. On Wednesday May 5th Equal Means Equal, et. al v. David Ferriero will be in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Massachusetts presenting oral arguments.
The other ERA case, filed in DC Federal Court, was just dismissed, as you know. This leaves our case as the only one standing that is still fighting for the ERA, as ratified on January 27th of 2020, when Virginia became the 38th state required to complete ratification.
If our case is dismissed too that will be the end of the road for the original Equal Rights Amendment. Ninety-seven+ years of mobilizing, organizing and ratifying will come down to the decision of one judge in Massachusetts.
But it didn’t have to be that way. And maybe, just maybe, it still doesn’t.
EME is a non-partisan organization. We see equal rights as a civil and human rights issue and endorse no political parties; but it pains us to have to say that, so far, we are very concerned about the true commitment of the Biden/Harris administration to women’s equality and the ERA.
Let’s take a sober look at the facts:
- Neither President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris have called the U.S. Archivist to direct him to publish the Equal Rights Amendment, as is his duty. This is a simple act and completely within their purview and control – yet it has not been done. The timing of this is crucial – we need this to happen before the Judge rules in our case.
- The new Biden/Harris Department of Justice has not reversed the OLC Letter that AG William Barr wrote on behalf of the Trump administration ordering the U.S. Archivist not to publish the Amendment.
- Despite President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both publicly supporting the Equal Rights Amendment during their campaigns, they are still fighting the E.R.A. in the courts now that they are in power. They could so easily publish ERA and put the burden of the fight on anti-equality forces; then they would have to take us to court to remove ERA from the Constitution.
- And while the “remove the deadline” bill is through the House and purportedly heading to a vote in the Senate, the fact that the bill’s sponsors are refusing to add a “friendly amendment” to it and adjust the language to reflect Virginia’s ratification as the 38th state and urge the Archivist to publish the amendment, is not a good sign.
Common sense and legal precedent establish that Congress cannot retroactively remove an expired deadline. Moreover, ERA never had a legal deadline, so it does not require removal. The deadline was placed in the ERA’s preamble, thus was not voted on by the states. This violates the Fifth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution. No constitutional scholar agrees that Congress has authority to remove the deadline. The Democratic Party has used their purported support for the ERA to garner support from women, however, the Biden Harris administration could easily publish, adopt and enforce the ERA right now – yet they are not doing it.
Now, these same women in power, who refuse to diversify or share leadership and decision-making with a growing group of fed-up BIPOC, are posing the largest, most direct threat to the women in this country by refusing to support ERA ratification; and instead they are pushing for a D.O.A. “start-over” bill designed to keep them in the C-Suite for another decade or two.
So, for those of us who refuse to let a century of work be sabotaged, devalued and tossed aside – here is what we must do to save the ERA:
1. Contact your representatives in the Congress (Senators and Congresspeople) and urge them to push Biden/Harris to publish ERA.
2. Send a postcard to Mr.Joe Biden, President Of United States of America, The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20500 urging him to call the Archivist and publish ERA.
Here’s some text you can use:
Dear President Biden,
As you know, on January 27th of 2020 Virginia became the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution, finally providing women with equal rights and protections under federal law. But it has not been published or adopted.
There is only one action left that is needed: for you to call David S. Ferriero in his capacity as Archivist of the Constitution of the United States of America and direct that he publish the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Will you please take 5 minutes out of your day to call the Archivist of the U.S. Constitution and direct him to publish the E.R.A.?
The eyes of American women and girls are watching – will you make good on your promise to deliver equality to women by adopting the ERA now?
Please call the Archivist and direct him to publish the Equal Rights Amendment immediately.
4. Sign up here for the livestream on May 5th at 11 am PST and hear Equal Means Equal’s legal counsel Wendy Murphy’s argument.
5. Use your imagination, your passion and your particular skillset to make a difference every day from now until May 5th to raise awareness that equality for women is on the line.
Bombard your networks with this information repeatedly and get them on board to help with the fight. Pressure every reporter, politician, corporate honcho or public influencer you know to speak out now on behalf of women’s equality– it truly is Mayday for the ERA and without a groundswell of pressure, it will be unceremoniously swept into the dustbin of history and American women will be gravely set back for a long time.
Here’s the bottom line, equality warriors:
Even though the Democratic Party is in control of the White House, the Congress and the Department of Justice, we still have the same opposition to and potential outcome on E.R.A. as when Donald Trump was President.
We need all supporters of the ERA to stand up to the Democratic Party establishment right now and tell them, “We worked hard to get you elected; now you need deliver for us: get E.R.A. in the Constitution NOW.”
Natalie, Kamala, Wendy, Thila and the entire EME Team worldwide.