Women's Movement Brief Filed in Support of ERA

Press Releases / July 1, 2020

Women’s Movement Brief asks the Court to Hold that a Time Limit Cannot Stand in the way of the Equal Rights Amendment, which now meets all the Constitutional Requirements for Amending the Constitution. 

WASHINGTON, DC – July 1, 2020 – The battle for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) entered another phase today as 52 prominent women’s rights and social justice groups across the country filed an amicus curiae brief opposing the efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop the Equal Rights Amendment following its ratification by Nevada, Illinois and Virginia – the final three of the thirty-eight states required for an amendment to the Constitution.

In February 2020, the Attorneys General of Virginia, Illinois and Nevada filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel the national Archivist to certify the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution after his refusal to do so following the last and 38th ratification of the amendment by the state of Virginia. The U.S. Department of Justice moved to dismiss the case, and these three states have filed an opposition brief in response to the motion to dismiss. The ERA Coalition Women’s Movement brief supports the three states in their legal battle for recognition of the ERA as a valid constitutional amendment.

“The Women’s Movement brief articulates the story of the untold millions of women who — throughout this country and for almost a century—have eagerly fought for equality. It states the case clearly: the amendment must be affixed to the Constitution,” said Kimberly Peeler- Allen, Board Chair of the ERA Coalition.

Carol Jenkins, Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition offered her appreciation to the Attorneys General and to all of the organizations who signed the Women’s Movement brief: “This collective effort is powerful proof of our recognition that the ERA is essential in eradicating systemic inequality in our country.”

“We want the court to understand the significance of the centuries-long struggle for sex equality in the United States – the constitutional requirements for an amendment have been met and there can be no time limit on this fundamental human right,” said Jessica Neuwirth Co- Founder, Co-President of the ERA Coalition.

As the ERA Coalition Women’s Movement brief states:

Even as women have emerged as a powerful force in our economy and the electorate, they continue to face persistent inequality. These problems are particularly acute for women of color, immigrants, indigenous and Native American women, lesbians, trans women, women with disabilities, single mothers, and victims of sexual and domestic violence. …. The ERA remains as critical today as it was in 1923—when it was first introduced—and in 1972, when a bipartisan supermajority in Congress passed it and sent it to the States. 

Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said: “This women’s brief clearly outlines the over 100-year struggle for the ERA, the present need, and the overwhelming public support. Equality has no time limit. Sexism has no place in a modern-day constitution.”

Linda Coberly of Winston and Strawn, Chair of the ERA Coalition Legal Task Force who drafted the Women’s Movement brief, said: “We are thrilled to be presenting this brief on behalf of a diverse and powerful group of more than 50 organizations that fight for equality every day.”

“A single unelected official cannot be allowed to stand in the way of an amendment that has been fully ratified in accordance with the constitution,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “Equal rights are not contingent upon a person’s gender or sex, and it is past time that women across the country have the constitutional equality to which they are entitled.”

According to Virginia Attorney General Mark 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.”

The ERA Coalition Women’s Brief, with signatories, can be read here.

The Attorneys-General Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss can be read here.

The US Department of Justice Motion to Dismiss can be read here.

The Attorneys General Complaint can be read here.

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