S.J. Res. 4 Undermines Protections for Women and Ignores Constitutional Order
For immediate release: April 26, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Today, CURE sent the following letter to members of the U.S. Senate:
On Thursday, April 27, the Senate will have a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S.J. Res. 4, a measure that removes the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) set by the 92nd Congress in 1972 and declares it ratified by three-fourths of the several States. This one-sided action is inappropriate and conflicts with multiple federal court decisions holding that the deadline for ratification of the ERA expired decades ago.
Congress could submit the same amendment text to the states, with or without a ratification deadline, but it must follow the procedures described in Article V of the Constitution, including the requirement for two-thirds approval by each house within a single Congress. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg addressed this matter on February 10, 2020:
I would like to see a new beginning. I’d like it to start over. There’s too much controversy about latecomers — Virginia, long after the deadline passed. Plus, a number of states have withdrawn their ratification. So, if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard states that said, “We’ve changed our minds”?
The language of the 1972 ERA would provide a legal weapon to invalidate virtually all laws or government policies that protect unborn children or parental involvement, as well as the Hyde Amendment and any other limits on government funding of elective abortions.
Women have made major advances in education, employment, politics, sports, and many other areas through established laws. Many protections women have gained under Title IX and other legislation would be put in jeopardy if this measure is enacted. Specific concerns include the elimination of single-sex spaces: prisons, restrooms, publicly funded women’s shelters, dorm rooms, and athletic teams.
Laws protecting parental rights or those protecting children from indoctrination and experimentation would be imperiled. Attacks on people of faith for their beliefs about human sexuality would increase and become much more difficult to defend against in litigation.
Enshrining the ERA in the U.S. Constitution would create much greater risks to women, parents, and people of faith than passing a statutory law like the Equality Act. It is much harder to amend the Constitution than to pass a new statute, or to amend or repeal an existing law.
S.J. Res. 4 is an attack on the integrity of the constitutional amendment process. Every senator who respects the rule of law should oppose it.
Star Parker Marty Dannenfelser
President VP, Government Relations & Coalitions