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January 3, 2022 - Virginia continues to lead fight for recognition of ERA ratification

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Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street Richmond, Virginia 23219


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Contact: Michael Kelly, OAG This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


~ Attorney General Herring, along with Attorney General Kwame Raoul of Illinois and Attorney General Aaron Ford of Nevada, file brief in Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to force recognition of ratification ~

RICHMOND —Attorney General Mark R. Herring continues to lead the fight to ensure the federal government properly recognizes that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has been ratified and is now part of the United States Constitution. Along with co-leads Attorney General Kwame Raoul of Illinois and Attorney General Aaron Ford of Nevada, Attorney General Herring today filed his opening brief in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stating that a district court’s dismissal of the case for supposed lack of jurisdiction must be reversed or it would “allow an unelected executive branch official to disregard his statutory duty,” “obstruct Plaintiff-States’ sovereign prerogative to ratify amendments that bring our foundational document in line with our Nation’s values,” and “tell the women of America that, after 234 years, they must wait even longer for equal treatment under the Constitution.”


“The ERA has been properly ratified by the states and any attempt to prevent its inclusion in the Constitution is without basis in law,” said Attorney General Herring. “The Equal Rights Amendment will finally ensure true equality in our nation’s foundational document and correct an injustice of historic proportions. For more than two centuries women have fought for recognition of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that should be guaranteed to each of us by the Constitution. This unlawful and unexplainable obstruction must end, and the ERA must be certified, published, and made a full part of our Constitution.”


“The Equal Rights Amendment must be included in our nation’s Constitution – all legal prerequisites have been filled,” said Attorney General Ford. “It is time for this decades-long fight to come to an end and for the Constitution to formally and legally protect the rights of women. Thirty-eight states have ratified this amendment, and now it falls to our colleague states and us to continue the fight. We will not stop, and we will not give up the fight women trailblazers started so long ago.”


“As our fight to ensure the Equal Rights Amendment is recognized as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution officially enters a new year, I am struck that Congress first considered an equal rights amendment nearly 100 years ago,” Attorney General Raoul said. “One hundred years is far too long to wait for equality under the law, and I am hopeful 2022 will be the year that equal treatment for all Americans is enshrined and acknowledged as part of our nation’s Constitution.”


“We are grateful to the Attorneys General for driving this litigation forward. The ERA has met all the constitutional requirements for an amendment, and the Archivist has a duty to publish it, providing official notice to all 50 States that the ERA is now the Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution,” Carol Jenkins, President and CEO of the ERA Coalition said. “There can be no time limit on equality.”


In March 2021, a district court judge granted a request by the Trump Administration and Republican Attorneys General to dismiss this lawsuit because of a supposed lack of standing by ratifying states, prompting an appeal to the DC Circuit. Attorney General Herring’s brief concludes:


“This appeal is not merely about State standing or the meaning of Article V. It is about who we are as a Nation. Thirty-eight States have voted to make the Constitution ‘more perfect’ with an express recognition of sex equality. Those votes should be respected.”


On January 30, 2020, Attorney General Herring sued to ensure that the Equal Rights Amendment was recognized as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, following Virginia’s ratification of the ERA. In May 2020, the Trump Administration filed a motion to dismiss Attorney General Herring’s lawsuit, seeking to block gender equality from being added to the Constitution. In June, Attorney General Herring filed a brief opposing the Trump Administration’s motion to dismiss his lawsuit and moved for summary judgment in his landmark civil rights lawsuit, as well as filed a brief opposing the intervening states’ (Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Tennessee) motion for summary judgment. 


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