FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2022
Washington, DC –– In a recent interview, U.S. Archivist David S. Ferriero claimed that “the time limit has expired” for the Equal Rights Amendment to be enshrined in the Constitution. In response, ERA Coalition / Fund for Women’s Equality (FFWE) President and CEO Carol Jenkins released the following statement:
“Hundreds of legal scholars have made it quite clear that an arbitrary deadline cannot stand in the way of ratifying an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Having fulfilled all constitutional requirements for an amendment, the ERA is both valid and enforceable today. While we’re disappointed the U.S. Archivist has shirked his duty to publish the ERA, we remain optimistic the Court will agree and require the Archivist to publish it.”
“The Archivist has a ministerial function, not a judicial one. Article V of the Constitution does not empower Congress with the option to impose time limits on states to ratify amendments. It certainly doesn’t give the Archivist judicial or discretionary authority to do the same,” said Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “The ERA has met every Constitutional requirement for ratification and is the law of the land. Those who oppose it are upholding the pernicious legacy of sex discrimination, plain and simple.”
President Emerita and ERA Coalition/FFWE board member Jessica Neuwirth said, “David Ferreiro’s comments to the press on his failure to publish the Equal Rights Amendment were greatly disappointing as well as inappropriate. It is not the role of the Archivist to make a determination on the validity of the ERA ratification, once it has met the requirements of the Constitution, which it has. There is no discretion in his function, which is purely ministerial, as the D.C. District Court recently affirmed in its ruling on the case brought by the three AGs against him for his failure to publish the ERA. It has never happened that a constitutional amendment passed by two-thirds of Congress and ratified by three-quarters of the states has not been published. Mr. Ferreiro’s failure to fulfill his administrative responsibilities will go down in history as an unwarranted obstruction to recognition of the ERA as the 28th Amendment.”
The attorneys general of Nevada and Illinois are suing the Archivist to publish the amendment. The case is currently on appeal and is expected to be heard in the DC Court of Appeals in 2022.
The ERA was passed by Congress on March 22, 1972, and Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment in 2020, thus fulfilling all constitutional requirements set forth in Article V. Even though the ERA has met all the constitutional requirements for an amendment, making it both valid and enforceable today, it has yet to be published as part of the Constitution. The U.S. Archivist is responsible for overseeing the preservation of the records of the U.S. Government and managing the Constitutional amending process.
Congress must now remove the arbitrary ratification time limit and eliminate any doubt that the ERA is now the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.
The ERA Coalition was founded in 2014 to bring concerted, organized action to the effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA Coalition has a sister organization, the Fund for Women’s Equality, which promotes public education and outreach on the need for constitutional equality. Composed of more than 250 organizations across the country, the Coalition provides education and advocacy on Constitutional Equality.
While the effort to amend the constitution to include sex equality began nearly a century ago, our renewed efforts are centered on Black, Indigenous and Women of Color, gender-nonconforming and transgender women and girls, and nonbinary people– those who are most impacted by systemic inequities.