Closing Thought–01Jun18

I would like to leave my readers today with a bit of history that almost everyone has forgotten but is not dead in the least.

That little slice of history is the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)……can you remember the fight back in the 70’s…….no?

The proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) states that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution apply equally to all persons regardless of their sex. After the 19th Amendment affirming women’s right to vote was ratified in 1920, suffragist leader Alice Paul introduced the ERA in 1923 as the next step in bringing “equal justice under law” to all citizens.

In 1972, the ERA was finally passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. The original seven-year time limit was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982, but at that deadline, the ERA had been ratified by only 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution. The ERA has been introduced into every Congress since the deadline, and beginning in 1994, ERA advocates have been pursuing two different routes to ratification:

  • the traditional process described in Article V of the Constitution (passage by a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, followed by ratification by three-quarters of the states), and
  • the innovative “three-state strategy” (ratification in three more of the 15 state legislatures that did not ratify the ERA in 1972-82, based on legal analysis that when three more states vote yes, this process could withstand legal challenge and accomplish ratification of the ERA)

I drag this out of the dust bin of history because the ratification process is NOT dead and after a recent vote there is only one state short of ratification…..

Illinois has ratified the Equal Rights Amendment a mere 36 years after the deadline for ratification, 46 years after it passed Congress, and 97 years after it was introduced. The amendment, which calls for men and women to have equal rights under state and federal law, was approved by 35 of the necessary 38 states when the deadline passed in 1982, CNN reports. Nevada finally approved it in 2017 and advocates hope it will finally be added to the Constitution if one more state ratifies it, though five states have rescinded their original ratifications, meaning there could be a legal battle even if the magic number of 38 is reached, Reuters reports. The amendment failed in Virginia’s legislature earlier this year.

The measure passed the Illinois House with a single vote to spare in a victory that NPR calls a “stark turnaround” for the home state of conservative Phyllis Schlafly, an anti-feminist activist who campaigned against the ERA in the ’70s. “Years in the making, yesterday’s vote in Illinois brings us one step closer,” says Lenora Lapidus, director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “We look forward to more progress being made, and ensuring that women are explicitly protected against discrimination.” With calls to revive the amendment growing stronger amid the #MeToo movement, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney plans to hold a congressional hearing on the ERA next week. It will be the first since 1984.

Which state will be the history maker….which state will bring about the ratification of the ERA?

That’s it for me guys…..peace out…..chuq

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