Supreme Court Justice and feminist legend Ruth Bader Ginsburg shocked some admirers recently when she suggested that it might be time to stop trying to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
RBG has been a long time advocate for the ERA, but she is now saying a better strategy would be to start from scratch.
As a refresher, the ERA would ban discrimination on the basis of sex and guarantee equality for women under the Constitution. How very radical. But because America runs on Dunkin’ misogyny, the ERA has been trying to become federal law since it was first introduced in the 1920s. For everyone who says sexism is over in 2020: we literally still have not been able to pass a law banning discrimination against women, so.
The ERA passed and was submitted to the states in 1972, where it would wait to be ratified by 38 of them to be formally adopted to the U.S. Constitution. A deadline for federal ratification was set for 1979. It was later extended to 1982, but failed to meet that deadline too.
Democrats won over the Virginia’s state government in 2018, and it last month it finally became the 38th state to ratify the amendment. This means the states had finally met the threshold necessary to change the Constitution. However, this comes decades past the deadline, and some states that previously ratified the amendment have rescinded their decisions.
Though last week the House did vote largely along party lines to extend the deadline, whether or not these ratifications are legit is up for debate.
And that’s why RBG thinks it’s time to start over. Ginsburg recently told a crowd at Georgetown University that she would like to see the ERA have a new beginning, noting that, “there is too much controversy about latecomers,” and that Virginia’s move came “long after the deadline passed.”
She makes some good points, but advocates for the ERA were feeling some positive momentum after the recent ratification in Virginia, so to have an icon and longtime supporter like RBG speak out against it now feels like a bit of a blow to the movement.
Ginsburg does, as expected from a lawyer and Justice who has done more than most to pursue a feminist agenda in the courts, believe an Equal Rights Amendment should become a part of the Constitution. “I would like to show my grandaughters that the equal citizenship stature of men and women is a fundamental human right,” she said. Same, girl.
Here’s to hoping that we as a nation can find a way to make a federal law that ensures equality for women. Would be like, super chill.
And on a somewhat unrelated by positive note we can end on: at the same Georgetown event, RBG joked about how popular she is right now, saying, “I can be getting an award every day of the week.” Okay queen, flex!
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