WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) to introduce a resolution that affirms Congress has no authority to declare the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) ratified as part of the Constitution.
“The Equal Rights Amendment was not ratified but the necessary number of states, and the timeframe to ratify it has long passed,” said Lankford. “Equal rights for all people is a basic American value already guaranteed by the Constitution. The ongoing hustle to try to force the ERA into existence is an attempt to promote a radical pro-abortion, anti-religious liberty agenda. The push to manipulate the constitutional amendment process for the ERA needs to stop. You cannot amend the Constitution in an unconstitutional way.”
“The law and the facts outlined in this resolution are clear. Congress has no authority to go back in time to revive a failed constitutional amendment, which makes the current push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment wrong on its face,” Hyde-Smith said. “Beyond the illegitimacy of trying to resurrect the ERA, we cannot ignore the very serious effects adding the ERA to our Constitution today would have on abortion, religious liberty, protections for women, and more.”
Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Boozman (R-AR), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Mike Lee (R-UT) cosponsored the resolution.
Under article V of the Constitution, the legitimate constitutional role of Congress in the constitutional amendment process for the ERA ended when Congress proposed and submitted the amendment to the states on March 22, 1972. The ERA expired when its ratification deadline passed with fewer than three-fourths of the states ratifying. Congress has no power to modify a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment after the amendment has been submitted to the states, or after the amendment has expired. The only legitimate way for the ERA to become part of the Constitution is provided in article V of the Constitution, and requires reintroduction of the same or modified language addressing the same subject, through approval of a new joint resolution by the required two-thirds votes in each house of Congress.
The resolution reviews federal judicial findings that shoot down notions that Congress can eliminate the ratification deadline for the ERA, which fell short of the 38 state ratifications necessary for adoption under article V of the Constitution. Only 35 states ratified the ERA before its seven-year deadline, and four of those states subsequently voted to rescind their ratifications of the ERA.
Recently, Lankford questioned Dr. Colleen Shogan, nominee to serve as the next Archivist of the United States, about her stance on refusing to unilaterally ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.