What Was That All About?
April 30, 2023. Last Monday, one day before the President emphasized the need to protect freedom and equality for all and declared he would seek reelection, Senator Schumer unexpectedly announced that the Senate would hold a vote on S.J.Res.4, affirming the validity of the Equal Rights Amendment.
The resolution is intended to urge the President to publish the Equal Rights Amendment and remove any doubt, cast by opponents of equality and reproductive rights, that the ERA was subject to a deadline and, therefore, must start anew.
38 states have ratified the ERA and all steps necessary to amend the Constitution, they have been completed. And all that is standing in the way is some paperwork.
Knowing that the votes were not there to pass the resolution and that the House will not take up the bill in the next two years, we questioned the timing and reiterated our concerns that the vote would be used to send the message that the ERA is not valid.
Shattering Glass was present when Senator Murkowski (R-AK) shared similar concerns during Thursday’s vote on the house floor, noting:
I’m not entirely pleased with the timing of our debate here on the resolution because we have not yet secured the 60 votes needed for its passage. I don’t really like it being used as filler on the floor, as somewhat of an exercise that runs the clock on a largely empty legislative calendar. I don’t see how the ERA or women in this country will ultimately benefit from that. But I am proud to lead this resolution with Senator Cardin.
And a frustrated activist called out the charade, demanding publication of the ERA.
Sure enough, the resolution was filibustered, and the more than 50 articles covering the issue referred to a deadline removal bill having failed. Sending the false impression that the Equal Rights Amendment is dead without further Congressional action. Even the articles referencing the disruption by the activist fail to mention ERA publication or the role of the Biden and Trump Administrations, which she clearly emphasized in the Senate Chamber. In fact, there was only one article that mentioned the Biden Administration’s ongoing role in blocking and fighting against the Equal Rights Amendment.
In contrast, many of the articles referenced a Statement of Administration Policy issued that day by President Biden, claiming to support the ERA and calling on Congress to act. However, none of the articles noted that this Policy Statement directly contradicts the Administration’s position reiterated in open court that Congress lacks the authority to pass these resolutions – a position that was quoted in S.Res.107, an anti-ERA resolution proposed by Senator Hyde-Smith and the GOP.
Given the biased media coverage and ongoing efforts by the Biden Administration to shield its role, it is clear that we need a large-scale public information campaign and significant pressure on the Biden Administration to publish the Equal Rights Amendment.
Without the Equal Rights Amendment, we will be unable to stop the increasing attacks on women, girls, LGBTQ+ people, and reproductive rights and the impact these attacks are having on our democracy.
And following the DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Illinois v. Ferriero, we will be unable to compel publication to establish what hundreds of constitutional scholars have determined - the Equal Rights Amendment is valid and is currently our 28th Amendment. Once published, the Equal Rights Amendment is presumed valid, and the burden shifts to the opponents of equality for all and reproductive rights to prove otherwise. Exactly where the burden should be.
For more information, see our Written Testimony For the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment.