Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most influential liberal on the Supreme Court, says that current efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment should be put on hold and the entire ratification process should begin again.
Ginsburg’s comments all but kill the recent effort to enshrine the ERA into the Constitution, despite the fact that the deadline for ratification passed in 1982. Last month, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment, leading proponents of the ERA to demand the U.S. government recognize it as part of the Constitution. Three state AG’s sued the archivist of the United States for improperly denying recognition that the amendment had been ratified.
But several states ratified the ERA after the deadline and 4 states rescinded their ratification. Ginsburg, recognizing the potential for judicial chaos, wisely thinks the effort should begin again.
Ginsburg said that one of her life’s goals — enshrining prohibition of gender-based discrimination in the Constitution — should be put on hold.
“I would like to see a new beginning,” Ginsburg, 86, told moderator Judge M. Margaret McKeown, of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, at an event at Georgetown University’s law school. “I’d like it to start over.”
Ginsburg recognizes the legal mess trying to advance the ERA would cause.
“There’s too much controversy about latecomers,” Ginsburg added. “Plus, a number of states have withdrawn their ratification.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?’”
Ginsburg, a lifelong proponent of the ERA, is a judge first and apparently believes that Congress established the 1982 deadline for legally sound reasons. At bottom, the case to accept Virginia’s ratification vote rests on the premise that Congress didn’t have the right to set a deadline. That’s a very weak argument since Congress has almost always set a deadline for amendments — usually 7 years. Otherwise, the amendment becomes “inoperative.”
House Democrats are looking to put their weight behind ratifying the expired amendment this week.
The House will attempt to revive the Equal Rights Amendment later this week, with a vote to remove the 1982 deadline for state ratification and reopen the process for amending the Constitution to prohibit discrimination based on sex. But removing the deadline won’t clear a path for the 28th Amendment. Hurdles, including the Republican-led Senate, a lawsuit from GOP state attorneys general and opposition from the current Justice Department, remain.
This is pandering, pure and simple. There’s no chance for Senate passage and Trump would never sign it. But it allows Democrats in the House to thump their chests and tell women that they’re on their side.
Is the ERA dead for the foreseeable future? As long as feminists and other advocates see the ERA as a path to abortion on demand and forced acceptance of transgenderism, it doesn’t have a prayer. Conservatives are eager for this battle and are prepared to fight in all 50 states to defeat it.