Justice Dept. Seeks Dismissal of Equal Rights Amendment Suit

May 19, 2020 by Tom Ramstack
The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is attempting to get a lawsuit dismissed that seeks to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

A Justice Department motion to dismiss filed last week says the deadline expired for states to ratify the amendment to protect women’s rights.

The original summer 1979 deadline was set by Congress after the amendment was proposed in 1971. Congress approved it then turned it over to the states for ratification, tacking on an extra three years to the deadline until 1982.

It failed to meet the required two-thirds threshold until the vote in January by the Virginia General Assembly.

The lawsuit by three state attorneys general says the Virginia General Assembly’s ratification of the amendment takes precedence over the deadline.

In other words, the fact that the required 38 states have now ratified the amendment means it should be added to the Constitution, regardless of any arbitrary deadline set by Congress.

The Justice Department disagreed in its motion filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The motion says “this deadline, like those for many other proposed amendments, precludes ratification of the ERA based upon votes that occurred after the deadline.”

The motion also says that states should enforce women’s rights themselves rather than trying to add an amendment to the Constitution.

“Even if there were a role for a court to play in the ratification process, it would not be implicated here, in a case brought by states that have the independent authority to act (or have indeed already acted) to protect their residents against sex discrimination in the manner they believe the ERA requires,” the Justice Department motion says.

The lawsuit was filed by the attorneys general of Virginia, Illinois and Nevada. The Justice Department says the federal court lacks authority to rule on their plea.

“That request is contrary to Supreme Court precedent prohibiting courts from second-guessing the legislature’s inclusion of a deadline for ratification,” the Justice Department motion says.

The lawsuit is filed against the Archivist of the United States, who is tasked by federal law with certifying constitutional amendments. The Archivist’s office said in a statement that it “defers to [the Justice Department] on this issue…”

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Mark Herring criticized the Trump administration’s opposition.

“Donald Trump is telling the women of America that, after 231 years, they should just sit down and wait even longer for equal treatment under the Constitution. It’s wrong, it’s offensive and it’s shameful,” Herring said in a statement.

In February, the U.S. House approved a measure to remove the deadline. The bill has not won approval in the Senate.

The proposed amendment says, “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 predominantly Democratic supporters say the amendment would protect women’s rights to equal pay and prevent job discrimination if they are pregnant.

Many Republicans criticize the amendment for its implied endorsement of abortion rights.

Under a separate idea supported by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and some lawmakers, Congress would get rid of the current proposed amendment and begin again with another one.

Ginsburg said that since state lawmakers voted in the 1970s, some state legislatures have changed their minds. Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota and Tennessee have all rescinded their ratification votes.

In The News

Health

Voting

Litigation

Crist Challenger Sues FEC for Failing to Address Twitter Concerns
Litigation
Crist Challenger Sues FEC for Failing to Address Twitter Concerns
May 10, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Former Republican Congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna, who ran unsuccessfully to unseat Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., last year, is suing the Federal Elections Commission saying it failed to address her concerns over her treatment by Twitter. Luna, a former airfield manager in the U.S.... Read More

DOJ to Appeal Federal Judge Ruling on CDC Eviction Moratorium
Litigation
DOJ to Appeal Federal Judge Ruling on CDC Eviction Moratorium
May 6, 2021
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON — After a federal judge ruled on Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on evictions exceeded the agency's authority, the Department of Justice announced it would appeal the decision. U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich authored the 20-page opinion accompanying the ruling.... Read More

Judges Hear Arguments Over Contentious Census Privacy Tool
Litigation
Judges Hear Arguments Over Contentious Census Privacy Tool

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The fight over whether the U.S. Census Bureau can use a controversial statistical technique to keep people's information private in the numbers used for drawing political districts on Monday went before a judicial panel that must decide if the method provides enough... Read More

$1.6 MIllion to Go to Protesters at 2017 Inauguration
Law
$1.6 MIllion to Go to Protesters at 2017 Inauguration
May 3, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia government this week agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle two lawsuits by protesters during the January 2017 presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. In one of the lawsuits, six demonstrators represented by the ACLU of the District of Columbia will... Read More

The Hartford to Pay $650 Million to Settle Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Claims
Litigation
The Hartford to Pay $650 Million to Settle Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Claims
April 20, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

The Hartford Financial Services Group announced Friday it would pay $650 million to settle sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America. If it is approved by a Delaware bankruptcy judge, the payment to the Boy Scouts and its 272 local councils would release the... Read More

Stephen Miller’s New Legal Group to Challenge Biden Policies With Lawsuits
Political News
Stephen Miller’s New Legal Group to Challenge Biden Policies With Lawsuits

WASHINGTON - He’s baaack. Stephen Miller, that is.  Former President Donald Trump’s senior White House advisor and the architect behind that administration’s hard line immigration policies, is launching a new organization this week, America First Legal. And, though the 35-year-old political operative is not a lawyer,... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top