Politics & Policy

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Shoots Down Efforts to Ratify Equal Rights Amendment after Expired Deadline

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sits at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 1, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience at Georgetown Law School on Monday night that the deadline to ratify the 34th amendment had passed, and that it was time “to start over” the efforts.

Last month, Virginia became the 38th state to approve the ERA, which was initially passed in 1972 before going to the states for ratification. The amendment sought to make discrimination on the basis of sex unconstitutional.

The Justice Department released a legal opinion ahead of Virginia’s vote that the process would need to be restarted, because Congress set an initial seven-year deadline, before extending it to 1982, for the amendment to be ratified.

Speaking Monday, Ginsburg appeared to concur with the opinion, explaining that “there is too much controversy about late comers,” and adding that Virginia’s vote came “long after the deadline passed.”

She also reiterated that she hoped the amendment would eventually be passed, saying “I would like to see a new beginning” to the ratification process.

“I would like to show my granddaughters that the equal citizenship stature of men and women is a fundamental human right,” Ginsburg said.

The state attorneys general of Virginia, Nevada and Illinois sued U.S. Archivist David S. Ferriero on January 30, after Ferriero said he would comply with the DOJ’s position.

“Under Article V, there is no time limit for how long Congress may deliberate before proposing an amendment to the States,” the suit argues. “The same is true of a State’s decision about whether or when to ratify a proposed amendment.”

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