Archives of the United States of America

Proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) may be trying to resurrect the dead legislation, but others are fighting back. After the Virginia legislature voted to ratify the ERA in 2020, feminists claimed they have the number of states needed to place the amendment into the Constitution. However, the deadline passed decades ago. Although House Democrats continue to hold hearings and pass resolutions to erase the 1979 deadline, lawmakers and officials, even in the Biden administration, confirm that the ERA has expired. 

Virginia is not the most recent state making the news regarding the amendment. Last week, the West Virginia Senate voted to rescind their ratification of the ERA. Lawmakers cited concerns of abortion rights and upholding the integrity of the amendment process. If the legislation passes the House and is signed by the governor, West Virginia will be the sixth state to take this action.

West Virginia’s actions come after the news on the national level that three Republican Senators have asked the United States Archivist to not certify the ERA. Archivist David Ferriero recently announced his retirement, so in a last-ditch effort, ERA advocates have asked him to certify the amendment before leaving. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) wrote a letter stating:

In light of the calls for you to disregard your duty and certify the ERA, we write to ask for your commitment that you, and the acting Archivist who will take over in April, will not certify or publish the ERA, which failed to achieve ratification by the states and is no longer pending before them.

Their statement harkens back to an opinion released by the National Archives in 2020. A press release reads:

In its January 6, 2020, opinion, the Office of Legal Counsel… has concluded “that Congress had the constitutional authority to impose a deadline on the ratification of the ERA and, because that deadline has expired, the ERA Resolution is no longer pending before the States.” Accordingly, the OLC opinion goes on to state that “the ERA’s adoption could not be certified…”

Biden’s Department of Justice allowed the 2020 opinion to remain while also clarifying that Congress can act further upon the amendment.

All eyes will be on the incoming nominee to lead the National Archives with the controversy of the ERA looming overhead. Eagle Forum will work with allies in the Senate to properly vet any individual who is nominated to the position. We will also keep you informed of the progress of West Virginia’s rescission of the ERA as well as any other states.

West Virginia is making headlines for giving the thumbs down to the Equal Rights Amendment. The West Virginia Senate voted to invalidate their previous ratification of the ERA in the 1970s. At the same time, the National Archivist is being pressured to count WV in the final tally to certify the results. Learn more by listening to this week’s Capitol Hill Update!

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