Members of Congress are seeking to retroactively remove the ratification deadline from the original Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) legislation passed by Congress in 1972, HJR 208 of the 92nd Congress. This is a desperate attempt to circumvent the legislative process and rule of law in order to ram through the radical leftist ERA into the U.S. Constitution.
For those unfamiliar with the ERA, it was a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that failed to meet the requirements for ratification within the originally given and accepted timeframe. The text of the ERA states:
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
S.J.Res.4 is sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and is cosponsored by 52 other senators. H.J.Res.25 is sponsored by Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and 187 other representatives. Both resolutions would retroactively remove the ratification deadline for the ERA. On April 27, the Senate voted 51-47 on whether to invoke cloture on S.J.Res.4; because the resolution needed 60 votes to overcome the filibuster, it did not pass. Nonetheless, these resolutions are at serious risk of passing.
These resolutions are unconstitutional. The deadline that Congress imposed for ratifying the ERA expired long ago. The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel long agreed with this obvious truth. On January 6, 2020, it stated:
Congress may not revive a proposed amendment after a deadline for its ratification has expired. Should Congress wish to propose the amendment anew, it may do so through the same procedures required to propose an amendment in the first instance, consistent with Article V of the Constitution.
On January 26, 2022, however, the DOJ under Joe Biden and Merrick Garland — which also targeted parents as “domestic terrorists” while defending Antifa and supporting illegal migration — issued a new statement effectively abandoning the 2020 opinion. The Biden White House also issued its own statement calling for the ERA’s ratification.
Nevertheless, H.J.Res. 25 and S.J.Res. 4 would remove the ratification deadline from the original 1972 ERA resolution (HJR 208 of the 92nd Congress). However, the current 117th Congress cannot modify HJR 208 of the 92nd Congress for the simple reason that that bill no longer exists! Congress can no more change HJR 208 of the 92nd Congress then it can modify or change any other bill or resolution from a previous Congress.
HJR 208 included a seven-year sunset provision, with a deadline of March 22, 1979. In 1975, falling short of the three-fourths of the states (38 out of 50) required to ratify an amendment to the Constitution, Congress voted to extend the ratification deadline to June 30, 1982. However, no additional states ratified the ERA between 1979 and 1982.
In fact, five states — Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, and South Dakota — all of which had previously voted to ratify the ERA, rescinded (i.e. withdrew) their ratifications of the ERA.
Nearly forty years after the extended and final deadline for ratification, Congress cannot now arbitrarily decide to remove the past deadline. To do so would violate the basic operating principles of Congress’ legislative process. The 1972 Equal Rights Amendment is dead and any attempt to resurrect it in order to continue the ratification process is illegitimate.
What’s Wrong With the ERA?
If ratified, the ERA would eliminate any laws against abortion and mandate taxpayer funding of abortions since any restriction against them would likely be interpreted as a form of “sex discrimination.” In fact, this is already the case in New Mexico and Connecticut.
Furthermore, consider the ramifications of a federal law that defines men and women as complete equals. Any law or statute that is sex specific would become null and void. Imagine how this could affect your mother, sister, wife or daughter?
- No more “male” and “female” segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, prisons, schools, athletic competitions, extracurricular activities, etc…
- No more maternity leave or special accommodations for pregnant women.
- Shelters for abused women will no longer exist, at least not for biological women only.
- In the event of a military draft, your daughters and sisters would be eligible to be drafted including for combat in the front lines.
Women will not benefit from the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment.” No one will. However, regardless of one’s views about sex equality, the basic — and most important — fact is the second part of the ERA, which states:
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
The legal ramifications and judicial interpretations of this one succinct sentence would be far-reaching. If the ERA is ratified, the federal government would have the power to come in and enforce — or get rid of — any state laws or workforce rules that it feels are sex-specific. What would this mean for your workplace? Your children’s school environment and extracurricular activities?
The ERA would amount to a massive power grab for the federal government, empowering them to override state laws and abolish the God-given rights of individuals.