The proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an idea that originated a century back, failed to gain the necessary support by the first deadline in 1979.
And by the second deadline set by Congress in 1982.
Now this week, after 41 years in the grave, Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer pulled its rotted bones to the floor of the U.S. Senate, where senators rejected the concept yet again.
The Washington Examiner said the vote was 51-47.
The idea being proposed was that senators could ignore history, precedent and the facts, pull a stunt like that in “Back to the Future,” and simply cancel what senators set into law those years ago.
Constitutional amendments require adoption by 38 states. By its latest deadline, it had earned the support of only 35. Since then, multiple states have rescinded their approvals, which Democrats decided to ignore.
They decided, instead, to focus on the three states that “approved” the amendment in recent years, Nevada, Illinois and Virginia.
Schumer, at the last minute, changed his vote from yes to no so he would be in a position – later yet – to bring the corpse back.
The effort by Democrats to bring back the failed plan has been going on for years.
The developments over that time include the admission from the state of Virginia, on which Democrats were relying, admitting that the plan is dead.
The state had sued, in Commonwealth of Virginia v. Ferriero, demanding that the zombie ERA actually be revived and installed in the Constitution.
But a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom explained at the time, “The Equal Rights Amendment has been legally dead for decades because its proponents failed to secure the required support from the states to amend the Constitution.
“Virginia made the right decision to withdraw from this unsuccessful lawsuit that disrespects our nation’s constitutional amendment process and threatens women’s rights and opportunities. Even former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledged that the push to sneak the ERA into the Constitution comes ‘long after the deadline passed.’ Virginia’s appropriate withdrawal from this litigation—which never should have been undertaken—respects the American people and the integrity of the Constitution.”
Further, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel has found, “Congress has constitutional authority to impose a deadline for ratifying a proposed constitutional amendment. It exercised this authority when proposing the Equal Rights Amendment and, because three-fourths of the state legislatures did not ratify before the deadline that Congress imposed, the Equal Rights Amendment has failed of adoption and is no longer pending before the states.”
The ERA Coalition, NOW and others have demanded, over the course of the war, “that the president, the attorney general and the archivist of the U.S. … take actions to assert that the ERA is now part of the Constitution.”
The idea of such an amendment first arose in 1923, but it never got any significant support until the 1970s. At that time the amendment was proposed, and states were told to vote, before a deadline expired.
The states Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky and South Dakota all rescinded their approvals, actually taking the number of state approvals far below what is required, even if there were no deadline at all.
In recent years, three states, Louisiana, Alabama and South Dakota, even have filed lawsuits to keep the ERA corpse in its grave.
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