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States appeal ruling they waited too long to ratify equal rights amendment

Virginia and two other states on Monday said they intended to appeal the ruling of a federal judge who said their vote to ratify the proposed equal rights amendment came too late.

“Over the years, efforts to add the equal rights amendment to the Constitution have encountered many obstacles, but each time this movement has overcome those obstacles and come out the other way. stronger than ever, ”Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford joined the appeal.

The three states – the most recent to vote for ratification – had asked a federal judge to declare the amendment formally passed after Virginia last year became the 38th state to vote to ratify it. They argued that a deadline for adoption did not have the force of law, as it was placed only in the proposal clause of the amendment, and not in the text on which the states voted.

But U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, Rudolph Contreras, ruled in March that Virginia’s vote “came after the original and extended deadlines Congress placed on the ERA.” A ratification deadline in the introduction “is just as effective as that in the text of a proposed amendment.”

Originally proposed in 1972, it was passed by an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress and approved by President Richard Nixon. It would amend the Constitution to add this provision: “Equal rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on the basis of sex.”

It would also give Congress the power to pass laws implementing this provision.

Article V of the Constitution provides that once a proposed amendment is approved by Congress, it becomes adopted when it is ratified by three-quarters of the states. Virginia said her January 2020 vote put the EER above the finish line.

In proposing the amendment, Congress said that the ERA would become valid when ratified by the required number of states “within seven years from the date of submission by Congress.” Another congressional vote extended the deadline, but only three years until 1982.

The House of Representatives approved a resolution in March to remove the deadline for adoption. His godfather, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Said “there can be no expiration date for the tie.”

President Joe Biden praised the House vote, saying it was “it is high time we enshrined the principle of gender equality in our Constitution.”

However, a follow-up measure in the Senate faces a long chance, with little Republican support.

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