Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Monday that the current version of the Equal Rights Amendment is dead, undercutting congressional Democrats just days before they plan to pass a bill trying to revive it.
The justice said having a statement of equality such as the ERA is important, but she said the current version has “too much controversy.”
“I would like to see a new beginning,” she said at Georgetown University.
She repeated her comments from last year, when she said backers need to start over, because the amendment Congress proposed to the states for ratification in 1972 is now dead.
When Congress submitted the amendment, it set a seven-year deadline for ratification. By the deadline in 1979, only 35 of the needed 38 states had ratified.
Congress passed a controversial three-year deadline extension, but no new states joined.
In the last few years other states have belatedly voted to ratify. Nevada acted in 2017 and Illinois in 2018. Then Virginia earlier this year, now under Democratic control, voted to ratify, and ERA backers said they’d reached the 38 states needed.
Virginia has sued asking a federal court to order the amendment to be recognized despite the expired deadline.
House Democrats, meanwhile, plan a vote this week to try to cancel the deadline after the fact.
Complicating matters, though, are the five states that revoked their ratifications.
Justice Ginsburg said it would be unfair to allow Virginia and the other states to ratify now, but not to accept the revocations.
“If you count a late-comer on the plus side how can you disregard a state that says we’ve changed out minds?” she said.
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