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Virginia Sues To Force ERA Into U.S. Constitution

Women sitting
Attorney General Mark Herring is leading a legal push to force adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM)

Virginia became the last state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment this week. Now Attorney General Mark Herring is suing to force the National Archives to add it to the U.S. Constitution. The Archives confirmed it won’t take steps to certify the amendment. 

Herring, along with attorneys general in Illinois and Nevada, filed a lawsuit Thursday to force the U.S. Archivist to add the amendment to the Constitution. This comes days after Virginia officially became the 38th and final state needed to ratify. 

The complaint argues that the Constitution provides that a proposed amendment automatically becomes valid once it’s ratified by three quarters of the states. 

“The work is done,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. “Every Constitutional requirement has been fulfilled and the ERA is now the 28th amendment to the Constitution.”

The complaint also says the Constitution doesn’t authorize Congress to impose deadlines on proposed amendments. 

Herring pointed out that the 27th amendment to the Constitution took 200 years. 

“That should lay to rest any argument that there is somehow a time limit put on when a state may consider or ratify a constitutional amendment,” he said. 

But some legal experts and ERA opponents maintain it’s too late to ratify, because the Congress-imposed 1982 deadline has passed.