July 1, 2021

Win! Federal Appeals Court Unanimously Rules ERA is Dead

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel from the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was not legally ratified.

In a bizarre move, pro-abortion legislators in Illinois (2018), Virginia (2020), and Nevada (2017) voted to ratify the amendment 42 years after it expired. After doing so, pro-abortion legislators claimed that the ERA had been ratified by two-thirds of the states (the minimum amount required to amend the Constitution). Not only had the amendment expired, however, but legislatures in several states now have different opinions than the ones that initially voted on the amendment nearly half a century ago.

In particular, the ERA as interpreted by many could codify abortion rights into the Constitution. A ratified ERA might prove to be much harder to overturn than Roe v. Wade, which based its decision on the idea that abortion is legal under the Constitution's implied right to privacy.

In a win for the pro-life movement, the courts continue to agree that the ERA ratification process legally ended decades ago, and the amendment is not a part of the constitution.

“Today’s ruling continues an unbroken, 40-year losing streak by advocates of the ERA-is-alive cult in the federal courts, before federal judges of every stripe of judicial philosophy and political background,” said Douglas Johnson, director of the National Right to Life Committee’s ERA Project.

This particular lawsuit was brought by an organization named Equal Means Equal (EME). In a separate lawsuit, the attorneys general of Illinois, Virginia, and Nevada have appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. A district judge ruled that the states' votes for ratification "came too late to count" but their appeal is likely to be heard later this year.

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