Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed an opposition brief to ensure the Equal Rights Amendment is recognized as the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Raoul and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, filed a brief yesterday in their lawsuit to ensure the federal government recognizes the ERA. Raoul and the attorneys general filed the opposition brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in response to the motion to dismiss filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
In the brief, Raoul and the attorneys general refute the DOJ’s claims that it should have a role in deciding whether adopted amendments should be certified, and that the archivist of the United States does not have to publish the amendment. Raoul contends that a single, un-elected official at the National Archives should not stand in the way of a fully ratified amendment in accordance with the Constitution. Additionally, Raoul and the attorneys general point out that no fully-adopted amendment has been ignored before due to a deadline. The attorneys general also note that many amendments have deadlines in their text, but the ERA does not.
The ERA guarantees equal rights for all Americans regardless of their sex. Though an equal rights amendment was considered as early as 1923, Congress did not propose the ERA to the states until 1972, when it passed with broad, bipartisan support. By 1977, 35 states had ratified the ERA. Illinois ratified the ERA in 2018. When combined with Nevada’s ratification in 2017 and Virginia’s ratification in January, a total of 38 states have now ratified the ERA, passing the constitutional threshold required for the ERA to become the 28th Amendment. With the ERA, the U.S. Constitution provides an explicit guarantee of permanent protection against discrimination based on sex.