US Archives Confirms It Won't Take Steps to Certify ERA

The ERA's future is uncertain partly because a ratification deadline passed in 1982

NBC Universal, Inc.

A day after Virginia became the critical 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, the National Archives reiterated on Tuesday that it would not immediately take any action to certify the measure’s adoption as part of the U.S. Constitution.

The National Archives has received Virginia’s ratification documentation but “the Archivist will take no action to certify the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment,” the press office of the National Archives and Records Administration said in a statement Tuesday that echoed a statement it made earlier this month.

Typically, constitutional amendments must be ratified by three-quarters of the states, or 38, before ratification. But the ERA’s future is uncertain, in part because of a 1982 deadline for ratification that Congress enacted decades ago.

The administration said it is following the advice of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, which issued a memo earlier this month saying that because the deadline has passed, it is too late for states to ratify the ERA. The only option for supporters now is to begin the ratification process all over again in Congress, the department said.

The National Archives said it would abide by that opinion “unless otherwise directed by a final court order.”

ERA advocates have vowed to fight to see the measure certified, either in court or in Congress, where there is a push to remove the deadline.

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