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AG Mark Herring Continues Fight to Recognize ERA as Part of U.S. Constitution


From AG Mark Herring’s office:

~ Herring files brief opposing the Trump Administration’s motion to dismiss in ongoing lawsuit to recognize Virginia’s ratification of the ERA, making it the 28th amendment ~
RICHMOND (June 29, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today filed a brief opposing the Trump Administration’s attempts to dismiss his landmark civil rights lawsuit that seeks to ensure that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is recognized as the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution following Virginia’s ratification in January 2020. For more than four months, the Trump Administration has refused to recognize Virginia’s valid ratification of the ERA and is trying to keep the courts from reviewing its obstruction. Joining Attorney General Herring in filing today’s brief arguing why it is imperative that the ERA is recognized as the 28th Amendment are Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford.

“Donald Trump and his administration have clearly demonstrated that they do not want to guarantee equality for the women in this country,” said Attorney General Herring. “Forcing women to wait even longer for equal rights under the Constitution is just plain shameful. Time and again, this movement has shown that it will not let anything stand in its way and I am proud to fight alongside it to ensure women’s equality is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.”

In the brief, Attorney General Herring highlights that dismissing his lawsuit and blocking recognition of the ERA as a valid amendment to the Constitution “would tell the women of America that, after 231 years, they must wait even longer for the equal treatment under the Constitution.”

Attorney General Herring also argues that “with Virginia’s ratification earlier this year, the Article V requirements [of the Constitution] were satisfied and the Equal Rights Amendment became ‘valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of th[e] Constitution.’”

Additionally, Attorney General Herring highlights that the Constitution does not “[give] the federal Executive Branch any role in the amendment process” and the framers of the constitution “designed the process to ensure that federal power had limits.”

In Attorney General Herring’s original lawsuit, he explained why the Equal Rights Amendment remains valid for several reasons. As the Complaint explains, the resolution proposing the ERA did not impose a binding time limit on the States to ratify, and “nothing in Article V suggests – much less clearly requires – that States take action on proposed constitutional amendments within any particular amount of time”. The complaint also explains that “States have no power to rescind prior ratifications”.

On January 27, 2020, the Virginia General Assembly voted to pass and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, making it the 38th and final state needed to immediately make it part of the Constitution. On January 30, Attorney General Herring filed suit to ensure that Virginia’s ratification was recognized, and to ensure that the Equal Rights amendment has been added to the U.S. Constitution, enshrining equal rights for women. In May, the Trump Administration filed a motion to dismiss Attorney General Herring’s lawsuit, seeking to block gender equality from being added to the Constitution.

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