[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC]
Pop-quiz time: What do Grace Kelly, John Belushi, Leonid Brezhnev, Henry Fonda and the Equal Rights Amendment have in common?
Answer: Each expired in 1982, although fans of the last one have hopes – albeit probably slim – of seeing a resurrection.
The Virginia General Assembly last week became the 38th state to ratify the amendment, although the smart money is on its action being nothing more than symbolic, since the deadline for ratification came and went 38 years ago.
(While those who support the amendment do try, hard, to creatively contort the law, the facts and the English language to prove that that deadline isn’t actually applicable. Swing and a miss, time and again. But lawyers will be happy to litigate, billable hour after billable hour, on their behalf.)
In the end, all the arguments pro and con are less important than which side will be able to muster five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court to rule their way. Assuming that the current lineup of nine justices is still in place when this issue gets up to the high court, one would presume the swing vote would be John Roberts, and one might also presume that he’d side with those who say this constitutional amendment, to use a supermarket metaphor, had long since passed its “sell-by” date.
Yet with Roberts, you never know – when confronted with politically explosive issues, sometimes he seems as shaky as Deputy Barney Fife.
But from this point until a decision is ultimately rendered, everything is just chatter, so let’s all sit back and let nature take its course.