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View Diary: ERA = equality, so WTF??? [rant] (58 comments)

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  •  The 3-state strategy (none)
    I don't know what the state-by-state prospects might be -- though Illinois seems like a likely "Yes" now -- but here's what the ERA group cited above says:

    In the 1990's, a promising new strategy for achieving the ERA began to arise. The "Madison" Amendment, concerning congressional pay raises, became the 27th Amendment to the Constitution after a ratification period of 203 years. This established a precedent such that the Alice Paul ERA's ratification period, currently just three decades, could hardly be considered unacceptably long.

    Also, Congress, when it first passed the ERA in 1972, chose to impose a time limit. Later, a different session of Congress extended that time limit, thus establishing the precedent that it has the power to do so. A strong argument can therefore be made that any session of Congress could, by a simple majority in both houses, extend (or eliminate) the currently expired ratification time limit on the ERA, such that just three more state ratifications would then add the ERA to the Constitution. Note: The 35 existing state ratifications, should stand, because, under Article V of the Constitution and confirmed by precedent, states that have once ratified an amendment do not have the power to rescind that ratification. (The 15 not-yet-ratified states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.)

    Thus the "3-state strategy" was launched, recognizing the likelihood of opposition from those who still oppose equal rights for women, but buoyed by authoritative analyses supporting its legal validity. Today, the 3-state strategy is gaining more and more attention, and a major new activist push for the ERA is growing rapidly.

    •  Congress (none)
      A strong argument can therefore be made that any session of Congress could, by a simple majority in both houses, extend (or eliminate) the currently expired ratification time limit on the ERA, such that just three more state ratifications would then add the ERA to the Constitution.

      I've also heard it argued that no additional action is required by Congress, since the Constitution doesn't allow Congress to place time limits on ratification, in which case the original time limits would be irrelevant.

      •  Interesting Theory (none)
        So we just pick up a couple states and we're in. Great!
        •  Not quite that easy... (none)
          I imagine the issue of whether Congress' time limit was or wasn't Constitutional would have to be decided by the Supreme Court. Also, there is the possibility that some states might try to revoke their ratification, another issue the Court would have to decide.

          One point I haven't seen addressed here is what would be the ultimate result of ratification. We need to remember that during the intial push in the seventies, ERA advocates gave testimony in hearings all over the country, and there was a lot of "no, it doeosn't mean abortion rights" and "no, it doesn't mean gay rights". That history would influence the way the courts interpret the amendment.

          •  The 14th Amendment (none)
            If a state can rescind ratification, then the 14th Amendment is in trouble. As I recall, Tennessee rescinded its ratification of the 14th, but that is where the precedent was set, I believe, that states could not rescind. If states can do that, then the 14th did not get the 3/4.

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