Subscribe Late last month, Illinois became the thirty-seventh state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which would do what the Constitution currently does not: guarantee that women are equal to men. But the vote was largely symbolic for another reason: It came 36 years too late. A constitutional amendment, once it has been approved by two-thirds of the U. House and Senate, must be ratified by three-fourths of the states to become law—which, since Hawaii entered the union in , amounts to 38 states. Alas, the ERA is not just one state short of passage because the deadline for state ratification was way back on June 30, , by which time only 35 states had ratified it.
Email In this column, Due Diligence, erstwhile attorney and GQ staff writer Jay Willis untangles the messy intersection of law, politics, and culture. Democrats in Virginia had plenty of reasons to celebrate on Tuesday night: By capturing both the state House and Senate, they earned the state's first unified Democratic government since , setting the stage for an expansion of Medicaid, a minimum wage hike, and gun safety measures long stymied by their Republican counterparts. But many observers began preemptively celebrating an altogether different accomplishment, too: the potential ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment ERA , a constitutional amendment that was introduced in Congress almost a century ago but has remained in legal limbo ever since.
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