Virginia Attorney General sues to get Equal Rights Amendment recognized

Posted at 10:23 AM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 21:49:34-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Attorney General Mark Herring has joined with two other attorneys general in suing the Archivist of the United States in an attempt to get the Equal Rights Amendment recognized in the U.S. Constitution.

Earlier this week, Virginia officially became the 38th state to ratify the amendment, but its future is uncertain as the U.S. Justice Department has said the deadline for ratification has passed.

ALEXANDRIA, VA - FEBRUARY 10: Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring speaks to members of the media after a hearing February 10, 2017 in front of a U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. Attorney General Herring attended the hearing for a request he filed to block the travel ban executive order issued by President Donald Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C., asks the court to direct the Archivist of the U.S. to publish the amendment to the Constitution as the 28th Amendment.

With Virginia ratifying the ERA, the necessary three-fourths of states have ratified it, but in a legal opinion the Justice Department said the deadline for ratification expired.

"We conclude that Congress had the constitutional authority to impose a deadline on the ratification of the ERA and, because that deadline has expired, the ERA Resolution is no longer pending before the States," the OLC said in an opinion released earlier this month.

The Archivist has said he plans to follow guidance from the Dept. of Justice unless a court says otherwise.

"We've recently learned the Trump Administration has concocted a scheme to attempt to nullify the will of millions of Americans," said Herring on Thursday during a press conference.

Supporters have said the ERA would guarantee women equality under the U.S. Constitution, but opponents argue it's too broad and not necessary. Herring believes in 2020 it is needed. "We know women are still discriminated against in our country every single day, so don't let anyone tell you the ERA doesn't matter," he said.

Analysts predict the courtroom showdown could be heading for the U.S. Supreme Court.