On Monday, September 7th, Equal Means Equal and two other plaintiffs filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, arguing that as women denied equality under law they have the right to sue to force the government to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
The appeal reiterated the points in the lawsuit originally filed in January in U.S. District Court in Boston, detailing how congressionally imposed deadlines for states to ratify the ERA are unconstitutional, and calling on the court to compel the Archivist of the United States to officially record ERA as the 28th amendment to the Constitution.
The appeal contends the lower court erred when it ruled Equal Means Equal, the Yellow Roses and Katherine Weitbrecht did not have standing to sue to force the Archivist of the United States to certify all 38 states have ratified the ERA. The requisite number of states ratified the amendment Jan. 27, 2020 when Virginia passed the measure.
“Petitioners adequately demonstrated concrete injury because respondent’s refusal to publish the ERA, followed by the issuance of an official statement that the ERA is not valid, caused injury to the ERA’s continued vitality,” the appeal stated. “The District Court failed to acknowledge the way respondent’s actions injured the ERA’s continued vitality.”
Equal Means Equal President Kamala Lopez took issue with the court questioning the standing of the three plaintiffs, an individual and two organizations representing women deeply affected by a lack of protections that ERA would remedy if added to the Constitution.
“The fact that the court would rule women themselves do not have standing in a case that will determine whether or not women are full human beings under the law would be a hilarious meta-example of the discrimination we suffer as a class,” Lopez said. “That is, if it were not an existential matter for over 160 million souls living under this lawless regime.”
Lopez added, “We are appealing to the Supreme Court because we are following the rules, in good faith, that were set before us by the State. If the State, after American women’s century of struggle and their delivery of the 38 requisite states as per Article V of the U.S. Constitution, refuses to grant us equality, which is not theirs to withhold; then it’s a whole other ballgame, isn’t it?”
“We are asking the Supreme Court to take this case and treat it with exigency because nothing is more urgent or important to women as a class of people than obtaining a ruling from the highest court in the land acknowledging their hard-fought victory in the century-long struggle for basic constitutional equality and fully equal protection of law,” said Equal Means Equal Legal Counsel Wendy Murphy.
“That the judge below said women have no standing to be heard on whether the ERA is now the 28th Amendment was not surprising because the law of standing is often used to silence women who seek to advance their rights and change the law. We will never accept any attempt to silence us,” Murphy added.
“Two weeks ago a ‘men’s rights group’ was granted standing by the Fifth Circuit to challenge discrimination against women in the draft,” Murphy said. “If men as a class can file lawsuits to prevent discrimination against women when government officials refuse to allow women to register for the draft, then women as a class should have standing to file lawsuits when government officials unlawfully refuse to recognize the ERA as a valid constitutional amendment.”
“We are confident that we will prevail at the Supreme Court and pro-ERA candidates will prevail at the ballot box in November,” said Equal Means Equal Vice President Natalie White. “The wind is at our backs, and in this, the 100th anniversary year of women being given the right to vote, momentum favors change that will finally see that all women have equal rights under the law.”
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With love and thanks,
Kamala, Natalie, Wendy and EME team