UPDATE: Virginia Attorney General files lawsuit to force U.S. to adopt ERA in Constitution

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Donna Granski

Equal Rights Amendment supporter Donna Granski, right, from Midlothian Va., cheers the passage of the House ERA Resolution in the Senate chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. The resolution passed 27-12. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

UPDATE: Jan. 30, 2020 9:00 p.m. TAZEWELL, VA (WVNS) — A lawsuit over the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution could be on the horizon. On Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced he is partnering with fellow Democratic attorneys general in Illinois and Nevada on “landmark civil rights litigation concerning the Equal Rights Amendment.”

The attorneys general are suing a U.S. government official, to make him recognize Virginia’s vote this week to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and certify the measure as part of the Constitution.

Connie Cordovilla, President of the Women’s Rights Organization, Virginia Now Inc, said it is long overdue

“The importance of that is so women have equal standing with men in the space of the law,” Cordovilla said.

The Equal Rights Amendment is designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. The purpose is to end the legal distinctions between men and women in matters such as divorce, property and employment.

Congress passed it with bipartisan support in 1972 and sent to the states for approval. Virginia became the critical 38th state to ratify the measure earlier in the week.

“I was there in Richmond and I have to tell you, the yell that went up from the women in the gallery was tremendous,” said Cordovilla.

According to the AP, the lawsuit filed Thursday against the archivist of the United States comes after the National Archives and Records Administration said this week that the archivist would “take no action to certify the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment.” It cited a U.S. Department of Justice opinion issued earlier this month that said it was too late for states to ratify the ERA because of a long-passed congressional deadline. In the lawsuit, the attorneys general argue that the deadline passed by Congress is not binding.

“Nothing in the constitution says you can put a deadline on amendments,” said Cordovilla.

The AP reported people opposed to the ERA claim it would dismantle common sense protections for women, like workplace accommodations during pregnancy. Another concern is it could be used by abortion-rights supporters to overrule abortion restrictions on the grounds they discriminate against women.


UPDATE: Jan. 30, 2020, 4:36 p.m. RICHMOND, VA (AP) — Three Democratic state attorneys general are suing a U.S. government official, seeking to force him to recognize Virginia’s vote this week to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and certify the measure as part of the Constitution.

The lawsuit filed Thursday against the archivist of the United States comes after the National Archives and Records Administration said this week that the archivist would “take no action to certify the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment.” It cited a U.S. Department of Justice opinion issued earlier this this month that said it was too late for states to ratify the ERA because of a long-passed congressional deadline.


ORIGINAL: Jan. 28, 2020, 11:07 a.m. RICHMOND, VA (AP) — Virginia has officially become the critical 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

State lawmakers made history earlier this month when each chamber of the General Assembly separately approved ratification resolutions. On Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, the House and Senate took the final procedural step of signing off on each other’s measures. That action took place with women presiding over both chambers.

Virginia’s ratification opens a new chapter in the nearly century-long push to get the amendment added to the Constitution. Many legal scholars expect courts to settle the issue. One reason why is that a ratification deadline set by Congress expired decades ago.


(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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