WASHINGTON, D.C. — Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) filed an Amicus brief on Wednesday in support of five state attorneys general who argue that the 1970s-era Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is expired and cannot now be added to the Constitution decades after it failed to receive sufficient support in the states.

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, three-quarters of states (or 38) must ratify a proposed amendment before it becomes part of our governing charter. In the 1970s, the ERA failed when only 35 states ratified the proposal, with four of those states subsequently rescinding their approval. 

Plaintiffs, nevertheless, claim that the ERA was resurrected this century when three states (Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia) belatedly approved the measure — a half-century after Congress first sent it to the states for approval and long after the deadline for ratification.

IWLC filed its brief in support of intervenors, five Republican attorneys general in Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska and South Dakota, who argue that Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia failed to approve the proposal within the congressionally imposed deadline and, in any event, the Constitution requires state ratifications be reasonably contemporaneous.

IWLC agrees that the ERA is expired and argues that it would undermine democracy to add the proposal to the Constitution now when today’s voters have not had a chance to consider the amendment or weigh in through their elected representatives.

Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, issued the following statement: “The Court must not bootstrap the ERA to the Constitution by cobbling together votes from across centuries. The majority of today’s voters have grown up under changed legal, social, and economic circumstances and might very well decide that today the ERA is unnecessary and undesirable.”

Inez Stepman, senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum, said: “Today, women and men are legally equal. In fact, in 2020, women are more educated, more economically prosperous, and more politically powerful than ever before. Adopting the ERA now would not ratify the legal equality we have long since achieved. Rather, it would potentially create an  inflexible body of law incapable of recognizing differences between men and women that actually matter. The American public needs time to consider the radical potential consequences of this amendment, time that this illegitimate ratification process threatens to strip from voters.”

Attorney Anita Y. Milanovich assisted with the preparation of the brief.

Read the brief HERE.



Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.

Independent Women’s Law Center advocates for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and respect for the American constitutional order.