[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
Here we go again: Supporters of ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment last week kicked off efforts to have Virginia become the 38th state to ratify the amendment when next year’s legislative session rolls around.
And given that odds are Democrats will control one or both houses of the General Assembly, 2020 may be the year for that to occur.
Of course, the same problem remains as it has for decades: Virginia’s becoming the 38th state to ratify the ERA won’t make it part of the U.S. Constitution. Neither will ratification by any other remaining state. Or, heck, ratification by all of them.
Facts are stubborn things, and here are two of the most stubborn: Fact #1, the time for the amendment to be ratified died in the 1980s; Fact #2, the U.S. Supreme Court as currently comprised under no circumstances is going to overturn Fact #1.
Supporters of the ERA can try to talk their way around that as much as they want, but it does not alter reality. Sorry, supporters – we love ya, but that’s just the way it is.
(Supporters also seem to conveniently forget that a number of states that DID ratify the amendment have since rescinded their approval. Lawyers already are counting the cash they’ll be making from litigating all these myriad points of contention.)
Actually, getting Virginia, or some other state, to become the 38th for ratification is probably best for all concerned. That way, this can all go (eventually) to the Supreme Court, where a final decision will be rendered. We’re no Perry Masons here in the newsroom, but we’ve got a feeling ERA boosters will not like the final result when that ruling is handed down.
Then again, the push in recent years for ratification of the ERA has been less about getting it into the Constitution and more about scoring broader political points, hasn’t it?