Democrats in Washington, D.C., are trying to add the decades-dead Equal Rights Amendment, which failed to garner the require support by a first deadline, and also by a second, legally suspect, deadline, and since has been rejected by several states that originally supported it, to the Constitution.
But simply declaring that it’s so.
It’s a movement that has been ramped up over the last few years as three states adopted it – even though the proposal was long expired. One of those states, Virginia, had taken a vote and lobbied for the proposal’s 1979 deadline to be ignored, but even that state now has admitted it’s too late to bring the zombie out of its coffin.
But now there are Democrats like Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, who are telling the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, to simply publish it in the Federal Register and that would, they claim, make it part of the Constitution.
A report at WRAL now explains that the push for Ferriero to certify the ERA is “perhaps the biggest test he’s faced during his 12 years running NARA, and it forces the little known civil servant and Obama appointee into the center of a decades-long fight to enshrine equal rights for women in the Constitution.”
The report claimed U.S. code “places the power to actually amend the Constitution in the hands of the nation’s top archivist, with federal law stating in part that the ‘Archivist of the United States shall forthwith cause the amendment to be published, with his certificate, specifying the states by which the same may have been adopted, and that the same has become valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the Constitution of the United States.’”
But also required is a verification that “it has received the required number of authenticated ratification documents.”
“Ferriero must now decide whether he’s going to either side with backers of the ERA, who have been asking him to publish the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution as part of his ministerial duties, arguing that it has satisfied all the necessary constitutional requirements and in fact took effect last month, or a trio of Republican senators and others who are raising concerns over the legitimacy of the ratification process,” the report explained.
But in fact, constitutional expert Jonathan Turley said there’s really no decision to be made, no controversy to resolve.
He said of Democrat demands that the idea be part of the Constitution: “It isn’t, of course. However, these Democrats insist that a unilateral decision from Ferriero declaring it ratified would mean it is ratified … at least until some courts say otherwise. And they are calling on President Biden to support this dubious move toward amendments by archival acclamation.”
He explained it’s another effort by liberals to avoid having issues addressed by voters or states.
“Rather than submit a new ERA to the states, Democratic leaders want Ferriero to just declare it a done deal,” he wrote. “The reason is that Democrats have good reason to doubt whether an ERA would be ratified today.”
In reality, he explained, “The ERA is neither alive nor moving.
“The deadline for ratification of the act was set for March 22, 1979 — an ample seven years to secure the required approval by three-quarters of the states, or 38 states. But it fell short of that constitutional threshold. Not only that, but four states — Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky — rescinded their prior ratifications; a fifth, South Dakota, set its ratification to expire if the ERA was not adopted by the 1979 deadline,” he said.
While Democrats argue states cannot rescind their votes, he explained the campaigners still fell short.
“So, Democrats and then-President Carter simply extended the deadline to June 30, 1982. In 1981, a federal district court ruled in Idaho v. Freeman that Congress could not extend the ERA’s ratification deadline.”
But no other state joined, and the failure still was evident. Then, however, long after both deadlines were passed, Nevada adopted it in 2017, Illinois in 2018 and Virginia in 2020.
“And then — poof! Democrats declared the ERA passed, 41 years after the original deadline and 38 years after the second deadline,” he said.
He warned that Ferriero would have to ignore the first deadline, the second deadline, and then the fact that five states reversed their approval.
“Rep. Maloney explained that Ferriero ‘told us how much he believed in the ERA, that he wanted to be the archivist that would make it happen, to deliver it and do his ceremonial job and ratify it,’” Turley said. “Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) insists that ‘many scholars’ believe there is no deadline that can apply to an amendment. It can literally take hundreds of years, and it does not matter if states later rescind their votes — it literally never dies,”
Further, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel said the ERA was dead.
Also demanding “certification” was Eleanor Smeal, of The Feminist Majority.
WND had reported only weeks ago when backers of the ERA began holding press events promoting the failed plan.
The idea of such an amendment first arose in 1923, but it never got any significant support until the 1970s. At that time the amendment was proposed, and states were told to vote, before a deadline expired.
Approval by 38 states was required, but only 35 voted to adopt. Then the deadline set by Congress passed. And decades later, two more states adopted it, and finally Virginia.
But during the same time ratification votes by Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky and South Dakota were rescinded, taking the number of state approvals far below what is required.
In recent years, three states, Louisiana, Alabama and South Dakota, even have filed lawsuits to keep the ERA corpse in its grave.
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