The move by Virginia’s Attorney General is just another blow to the fight for constitutional equality in the country for men and women.
On Feb. 18, 2022, current Attorney General Jason Miyares made moves to withdraw the Commonwealth as a party in a lawsuit to get the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) adopted into the US Constitution. The lawsuit was originally filed by then-Attorney General Mark Herring in 2020, alongside Illinois and Nevada, the next-most recent states who signed on to ratify the document after Virginia.
Before leaving office, Herring had filed an opinion on Jan. 6, 2022, saying that Virginia cannot rescind its ratification.
Virginia’s vote ratifying the ERA in 2020 was a bipartisan effort, even though it came decades after the original deadline to ratify the original ERA had passed. Miyares, then a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates, was one of 41 votes against ratifying the ERA.
Groups who had worked for nearly 100 years pushing for its passage saw the move as a win for the legislation that was initially proposed in 1923, and first passed by Congress in 1972.
After the 2020 vote, the Trump Justice Department issued a legal memo that said it was too late for states to ratify the ERA, because the deadline had expired. The only option for ERA supporters was to begin the fight again in Congress.
“Considering that a Democrat-appointed judge, and the Biden administration all concluded that the deadline to ratify the ERA passed decades ago, Virginia will no longer participate in the ERA lawsuit with Illinois and Nevada,” Victoria LaCivita, a spokeswoman for Miyares, wrote in a statement. “Any further participation in this lawsuit would undermine the US Constitution and its amendment process.”
According to a 2020 poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that about 3 in 4 Americans were in support of the ERA, which has bipartisan support from leaders in the House and Senate.