Attorneys General Ford, Raoul Issue Statement After Argument in Equal Rights Amendment Litigation

Sep. 28, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued statements following argument before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal on their lawsuit demanding the Federal Archivist certify the Equal Rights Amendment. From 2017 to 2020, Nevada, Illinois and Virginia ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, bringing the total number of states having done so to 38 – enough for the amendment’s ratification.

"It is far beyond time to stop the stalling and codify the rights that we all share - regardless of sex - but that have not always been honored in our country," said AG Ford. "I am disappointed that we have to fight to recognize the equal rights of women, but as long as I am Attorney General, we will not stop until these rights are codified in our Constitution. By inscribing these rights in our nation's most important document, we will protect our country and our citizens against any future actions that would take us backward."

    "As we continue our fight to recognize the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution amid a national assault on women’s rights, I am struck that Congress first considered an equal rights amendment nearly 100 years ago," Raoul said. "One hundred years is far too long to wait for equality under the law. I have a daughter who intends to practice law, and the Constitution she will pledge to protect should fully protect her as well. Until the United States Constitution reflects our society’s commitment to not go backward, none of us should stop fighting for equality."

    The Equal Rights Amendment states, in 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, the Equal Rights Amendment was finally adopted in Congress in 1972 with broad, bipartisan support. Under the leadership of then-State Sen. Patricia Spearman, Nevada ratified the Equal Rights Amendment on March 21, 2017, when AG Ford served as Senate Majority Leader. Illinois ratified the ERA shortly after in 2018. 

      Following refusal by the Federal Archivist to certify the ERA, AG Ford sued to ensure the Equal Rights Amendment was recognized as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Article V of the Constitution addresses the exclusive role of Congress and the States in amending the Constitution, with no mention of any role for the Executive Branch or the federal archivist in the process.