Continues Fight to Recognize Equal Rights Amendment as Part of US Constitution

August 19, 2020

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford moved for summary judgment in his landmark civil rights lawsuit that seeks to ensure that the Equal Rights Amendment is recognized as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, following Virginia’s ratification in January 2020. In the brief, AG Aaron Ford, Virginia AG Mark Herring and Illinois AG Kwame Raoul again explain why the Equal Rights Amendment should be recognized as part of the U.S. Constitution.   

The Equal Rights Amendment states in pertinent part that “equality of all rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Originally introduced in 1923, it was finally adopted in Congress in 1972 with broad, bipartisan support. Under the leadership of Senator Patricia Spearman, Nevada ratified the Equal Rights Amendment on March 21, 2017, when AG Ford was Senate Majority Leader. Illinois ratified the Equal Rights Amendment shortly after in 2018. 

“Equality does not expire, and neither will my fight for equal rights among women and men,” said AG Ford. “I’m proud to use every available legal tool in this fight, and will not stop until these rights are permanently written into our nation’s history and future.”  

As AG Ford has argued throughout this lawsuit, and argues again in today’s motion for summary judgment, “the Equal Rights Amendment has satisfied the constitutional requirements to be added to the United States Constitution, and the Archivist has a non-discretionary duty under federal law to publish and certify the Equal Rights Amendment is valid.” AG Ford further explains that, “the Equal Rights Amendment has met all of Article V’s requirements,” “the timeframe in the congressional resolution did not prevent Plaintiff States from ratifying,” and “ratification is a one-time event that may not be ‘rescinded’.” 

The motion for summary judgment concludes by asking the court to:  

  • Declare that the Equal Rights Amendment is valid and part of the Constitution; 
  • Declare that the Archivist’s refusal to publish and certify the Equal Rights Amendment violates federal law; and
  • Order the Archivist to execute his duties and publish the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the Constitution 

Additionally, AG Ford filed a brief opposing the intervening states’(Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Tennessee) motion for summary judgment that argued states have the ability to rescind their ratification of the ERA, which would remove five states from the number that have ratified the amendment. Only three of the five intervening states have even purported to have rescinded the Equal Rights Amendment – legislatures in Louisiana and Alabama have not even ratified the amendment.   

Five states – Nebraska, Tennessee, Kentucky, Idaho and South Dakota – have purported to have rescinded their ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, but AG Ford and his colleagues argue that these rescissions are not valid and, therefore, should not affect the Equal Rights Amendment being added to the U.S. Constitution when Virginia became the 38th and final state needed to ratify it in January 2020. 

On January 27, 2020, the Virginia General Assembly voted to pass and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, making it the 38th and final state needed to immediately make it part of the Constitution. On January 30, AG Ford filed suit to ensure that Virginia’s ratification was recognized, and to ensure that the Equal Rights amendment has been added to the U.S. Constitution, enshrining equal rights for women. In May, the Trump Administration filed a motion to dismiss AG Ford’s lawsuit, seeking to block gender equality from being added to the Constitution. In June, AG Ford filed a brief opposing the Trump Administration’s motion to dismiss his lawsuit.