Brooks Believes Equal Rights Amendment Process Must Start Over
WASHINGTON, DC – Today Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) provided the following statement after voting against H.J Res. 79, Removing the Deadline for the Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment:
“I unequivocally support equal rights and opportunities for all individuals regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and age. My voting record in Congress confirms this belief. Unfortunately, today I voted against an Equal Rights Amendment because it did not follow the required process to amend the United States Constitution.
“The original resolution began in 1972 and the process of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment expired in 1979 when only 35 of the required 38 states ratified it. I am proud Indiana was one of the 38 states to ratify the amendment. However, in order to ratify an equal rights amendment to the Constitution we must start the constitutional process anew.
“Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who I admire for her work for equal rights for women and is a monumental figure in efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, stated on February 10, 2020, ‘I’d like it to start over. There’s too much controversy about late comers.’
“The Supreme Court of the United States recognizes that Congress does not have the constitutional authority to retroactively revive a failed constitutional amendment. I fear the path taken today will only cause more constitutional litigation rather than amend the Constitution in support of women’s equality.
“Moving forward, we should restart this process and develop a new Equal Rights Amendment that could receive the required two-thirds votes.”
H.J. Res. 79 ignores our founding fathers’ wishes that any amendment to the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress and three-fourths of states ratification. Congress originally passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1972. It required ratification individually from 38 states by March 22, 1979. Attempts to ratify the ERA failed in 1979 with only 35 states ratifying it. Indiana ratified the ERA in 1977. Since 1979, Idaho, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Tennessee have since rescinded their ratifications. Therefore, as a rule of law, the amendment failed.
In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit involving the ERA as moot, accepting the position of the U.S. Solicitor General that the ERA has “failed adoption” since no additional states ratified the ERA during the time limit. As a result, Supreme Court precedent requires that an attempt to amend the Constitution with the ERA must begin anew, and Congress cannot simply continue the failed 1972 ERA attempt.
While Rep. Brooks agrees with equal rights for all women, H.J. Res. 79 is contrary to the rule of law.