House to vote Thursday on removing ERA ratification deadline

House to vote Thursday on removing ERA ratification deadline

The House is scheduled to take up legislation on Thursday that would remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). 

Under legislation approved by Congress in 1972, states were given a seven-year deadline to ratify the ERA as a 28th amendment to the constitution. The deadline was later extended to 1982. 

Only 35 states had ratified the ERA by 1982, and the amendment appeared to be dead.


But in the last two years, three more states have approved the amendment, with Virginia becoming the 38th state in January.

Supporters of the legislation say its passage would pave the way for the ERA to become the 28th amendment to the Constitution.

“With this resolution, we take a giant step toward equality for women, progress for families and a stronger America because we know that when women succeed America succeeds," Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNJ governor calls for assessment of coronavirus response after crisis abates Overnight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Hillicon Valley: Zoom draws new scrutiny amid virus fallout | Dems step up push for mail-in voting | Google to lift ban on political ads referencing coronavirus MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters on Tuesday. 

Republicans argue that Congress cannot change the deadline retroactively.

“Congress does not have the constitutional authority to retroactively revive a failed constitutional amendment and subject citizens in all 50 states through the current political trend in just one state #ERA,” Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsJustice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Loeffler traded .4M in stocks as Congress responded to coronavirus pandemic Georgia makes it easier to get mail-in ballots after delaying primary MORE (R-Ga.), the leading Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted on Monday. 

They also say women’s rights are protected under the 14th Amendment and that the ERA is unnecessary.


The legislation is likely to pass the House, but it appears dead in the GOP-controlled Senate.

It's unclear whether the courts would accept the argument that the ERA has been ratified now that 38 states have signed on to it, since three states missed the legal cutoff set by Congress.

In a bad sign for proponents, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Monday said she'd prefer to see advocates start over.

“I would like to see a new beginning,” Ginsburg said when asked about the ERA ratification at an event at the Georgetown University Law Center. “I’d like it to start over.” 

The Department of Justice’s Office of the Legal Counsel has also pushed back on Congress’s ability to ratify the ERA because the 1982 deadline had passed.