Trump administration: Effort to ratify ERA has timed out
The Trump administration is saying today that the effort initiated in the 1970s to pass the Equal Rights Amendment has timed out.
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a legal opinion declaring that the deadline to ratify the amendment, backed by 35 states in the 1970s, three states short of what was needed to ratify, has long since passed.
Nevada approved the ERA in 2017, and Illinois did the same in 2018, leaving the amendment one state vote of approval short, assuming no time deadline had passed.
Both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate approved the amendment in 1972, with a seven-year deadline for the necessary number of states to sign on.
That deadline was later extended to 1982.
The House Judiciary Committee voted in November to retroactively remove to the ratification deadline.
Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel wrote in the opinion that while Congress “had the constitutional authority” to set the deadline, it cannot now reopen the issue.
“Congress may not revive a proposed amendment after the deadline has expired,” Engel wrote.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said in response that it is “wholly unsurprising that the Trump Administration has found yet another way to oppose women’s equality.”
“The ERA should have been passed by Virginia and other states a long time ago,” Herring said. “It should have been unanimous. Women in America deserve to have equality guaranteed in the Constitution. The fact that Republican attorneys general are suing to block the ERA, and that they now have the support of the Trump Administration, is absolutely repugnant.
“When Virginia becomes the 38th state to ratify the ERA I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that the will of Virginians is carried out and the ERA is added to our Constitution, as it should be,” Herring said.