Magazine March 9, 2020, Issue

The ERA Is a Zombie Amendment

Activists calling for Virginia’s adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment convene in Richmond, Va., January 8, 2020. (Jonathan Drake/Reuters)
Back from the Seventies

Not many people have had a kind word for Prohibition on its hundredth anniversary, but let us pause to note that its proponents and opponents alike displayed a constitutional scrupulosity that has rarely been seen since in our country. The Prohibitionists conceded that a constitutional amendment was necessary to enable the federal government to ban alcohol, rather than trying to retrofit an existing provision of the Constitution for their purpose. Sean Beienburg, author of Prohibition, the Constitution, and States’ Rights, tells the stories of many politicians who opposed the 18th Amendment but nonetheless felt obligated by its existence to support

This article appears as “A Zombie Amendment” in the March 9, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

It will be something if 2020 ends up being a choice between a crass and vain New York City billionaire with an ugly Twitter habit and Donald Trump.

Column Calumny

When the Trump administration brought back the classical style to federal buildings, the pundit class went from zero to Hitler in record time.


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