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Now 3 states sue to keep ERA corpse in grave

WND Staff

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Amendment failed to meet 1982 congressional deadline

 December 28, 2019

The Equal Rights Amendment was proposed in the 1970s with the purported intent of making men and women "equal."

It failed to meet a 1982 deadline set by Congress to gain the approval of 38 states. But some lawmakers insist it isn't dead yet.

In Virginia, for example, a legislative panel voted a year ago to support the idea that Congress can vote to "remove" a deadline for the failed ERA.

Now a lawsuit has been filed to put an end to such claims.

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AP reportedSouth Dakota, Louisiana and Alabama have filed a federal case to block the ERA.

The lawsuits seeks to prevent the U.S. archivist, David Ferriero, from accepting a new ratification from a state.

South Dakota's attorney general, Jason Raynsborg, explained: "The South Dakota Legislature ratified the ERA in 1973, but in 1979 passed Senate Joint Resolution 2 which required the ERA be ratified in the original time limit set by Congress or be rescinded. Because thirty-eight states failed to ratify the amendment by [the deadline], the South Dakota Legislature rescinded its ratification of the ERA."

He said it's an issue "of following the rule of law, the rules that our Founding Fathers put into place to protect us from government making decisions without the consent or support of 'we the people.'"

"If Congress wants to pass an updated version of the ERA, taking into consideration all the changes in the law since 1972, I have no doubt the South Dakota Legislature would debate the merits in a new ratification process. An amendment to the Constitution should not be done by procedural nuances decades after the deadline prescribed by Congress, but through an open and transparent process where each state knows the ramifications of its actions."

WND reported a new move in Congress purports to "remove" the deadline that Congress set.

And a House Republican leader is warning fellow members against supporting that resurrection plan.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said in a statement as a House committee considered H.J. Res. 79 that Congress "doesn't have the constitutional authority to retroactively revive a failed constitutional amendment and subject citizens in all 50 states to the current political trend in just one state."

Collins noted the ERA failed to be ratified by three-quarters of the states under a congressionally mandated deadline.

"The states relied on that deadline during the ratification debates," he said. "Congress lacks any power to retroactively revive a failed constitutional amendment."

He argued the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the deadline has long since passed. It ruled in 1982 that the issue was dead "since the deadline for ERA ratification expired before the requisite number of states approved it."

"The next year the Democratic leadership of the House, acting on the same understanding, started the entire process of ERA approval over again — that new attempt with ERA also failed to achieve the required two-thirds margin on the floor of the House on November 15, 1983. Even current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a longtime supporter of the ERA, said just a few weeks ago, 'I hope someday ... we’ll be starting over again [on the ERA] collecting the necessary states to ratify it,'" he said.

The new resolution, he added, now "denies the obvious."

"Now that Democrats control the Virginia legislature, the proponents of this joint resolution want to convince their base that, if it's passed by both houses of Congress — by a simple majority vote — and signed into law, and then Virginia alone passes a resolution to allegedly 'ratify' the 1972 ERA, that amendment would become part of the Constitution," Collins said.

But there is the obvious.

"Congress, however, doesn’t have the constitutional authority to retroactively revive a failed constitutional amendment and subject citizens in all 50 states to the current political trend in just one state. The Supreme Court has already recognized that. The past Democratic leadership of this House recognized that. Apparently the current leadership on this committee, however, is intent on rewriting history," he said.

Collins said that for anyone who wants to impose the language of the 1972 ERA, there is only one option.

"Start the whole process over and make your case to current voters nationwide. You must obtain the required two-thirds vote in each house of Congress, then win ratification individually from 38 states. That is not likely to happen."

He said the objective of those who want a "do-over" is to prevent restrictions on abortion.

"It's well understood that the language used in the ERA would not protect women, but would prevent state voters from enacting any limits on abortion, up to the moment of birth. In recent years, an increasing number of leading pro-abortion advocates have openly argued that the language of the 1972 ERA would require unlimited abortions with no restrictions whatsoever nationwide, regardless of the view of voters. To take just a single example, in a national alert sent out on March 13, 2019, NARAL Pro-Choice America stated flatly, 'The ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion . . . [it] would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws,'" he said.

He said the return of the ERA would sweep away all protections for life and give way to the abortion industry's agenda of mandating abortion as a "victimless choice."

"We must also recognize that one person’s reproductive right cannot outweigh another person’s right to live," he said.

A year ago, when the Virginia legislative committee endorsed the ERA, reports pointed out the deadline for for ratification was 1982.

At the time, however, the Associated Press reported the move by Virginia's state House and Senate "would mean the ERA has reached the threshold for ratification."

The Family Research Council pointed outthe problems with the vote.

Alexandra McPhee, the group's director of religious freedom advocacy, noted the ERA "fails procedurally – it is legally moot, and thus, off the table for ratification."

"In 1972, when the amendment passed, Congress itself conditioned ratification on a deadline: March 22, 1979. A later extension moved the date to June 30, 1982."

Proponents of the amendment failed to rally enough states to ratify the amendment at either juncture, and "in that time five states withdrew their ratification," she explained.

"Now … proponents believe they can and should revive this stale effort. But they cannot and should not. Congress reasonably imposed this deadline because a lot can happen in five years, and even more in a lifetime. The deadline was binding enough when the ERA thought it would win. Now that it has lost – twice – proponents argue that the rules need not apply," she said.

McPhee said that whatever ERA proponents want the General Assembly to pass will have to make its way anew through Congress by a two-thirds vote.

Patrina Mosley, the Family Research Council's director of life, culture and women’s advocacy, said at the time the ERA "is not about women, it is really a smokescreen for abortion."

"Abortion has extinguished over 60 million children from our nation and by design, our poor and minority communities have been disproportionately affected," she said.

"The majority opinion of Roe written by Justice Blackmun is laced with eugenic ideology and has even been acknowledged by Ruth Bader Ginsburg," she said.

The ERA would amend the U.S. Constitution to state: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

But it was defeated in large part because of Phyllis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum.

When the deadline passed in 1982, ERA supporters admitted it was dead.

Marjorie Bell, head of the American Association of University Women at the time, confirmed, "Failure to extend now the time limit for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment would terminate – what Congress initiated."

At the time, only 35 states approved it, and in recent years, two more states joined. But ratification votes by Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky and South Dakota were withdrawn.