When the ERA passed out of Congress in 1972, a 7 year deadline was given and 38 States had to ratify it. Within those 7 years, 35 states quickly ratified it. The deadline was extended by an additional 3 years. However, no additional states ratified it in time. Additionally, a few states rescinded their ratification.
For decades, the issue was considered dead. Until 1997 when Herd, Herndon, and Stager published a groundbreaking article in the William and Mary Journal of Women and Law outlining how the Equal Rights Amendment “remains legally viable and properly before the states.” From that point on, ERA advocates have pushed for ‘the three-state strategy’. It argues that once the ERA gets ratified by 3 more states, it can be addressed in courts or again by Congress. Recently, in March of 2017, Nevada ratified the Equal Rights Amendment renewing and reinvigorating proponents of the issue. Now, only 2 more states are needed.
These are some of the many arguments made in support of the ERA’s continued viability.
♦ The 7 year deadline is in the preamble of the amendment and not in the proposed amendment passed by Congress nor the text ratified by the states.
♦ The 27th amendment (aka Madison Amendment) took 203 years to be finally ratified and added to our Constitution.
♦ The 15th amendment was declared ratified despite New York’s rescission of ratification.
♦ Congress extended the deadline once and can do so again. In fact, there is pending legislation in Congress to do just that!
♦ The US Constitution does not give Congress authority to limit States’ power to ratify amendments or set a schedule. Nevada ratified the Equal Rights Amendment in 2017, exercising a state’s right to ratify under Article V of the Constitution.
♦ The Illinois General Assembly should enact laws reflecting the will of Illinois citizens, not predict what Congress or the Supreme Court might do.