The need for a federal Equal Rights Amendment remains as compelling as it was in 1978, when now Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the Harvard Women’s Law Journal: “With the Equal Rights Amendment, we may expect Congress and the state legislatures to undertake in earnest, systematically and pervasively, the law revision so long deferred. And in the event of legislative default, the courts will have an unassailable basis for applying the bedrock principle: All men and all women are created equal.”
Thanks to Sarah Balla, Vivienne Orgel, Jenny Evans, Elaine Posner, Kristen Sandel & Judie Block for helping get the most up to date information for the states yet to ratify the ERA.
Click on each state to find out its status, and who to contact.
Can a state legally rescind their ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment?
Article V of the Constitution speaks only to the states’ power to ratify an amendment but not to the power to rescind a ratification. All precedents concerning state rescissions of ratifications indicate that such actions are not valid and that the constitutional amendment process as described in Article V allows only for ratification. For example, the official tally of ratifying states for the 14th Amendment in 1868 by both the Secretary of State and Congress included New Jersey and Ohio, states which had passed resolutions to rescind their ratifications. Also included in the tally were North Carolina and South Carolina, states which had originally rejected and later ratified the amendment. In the course of promulgating the 14th Amendment, therefore, Congress determined that both attempted withdrawals of ratifications and previous rejections prior to ratification had no legal validity.
Therefore, it is most likely that the actions of the five states — Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Tennessee — that voted to rescind their ratification of the ERA between 1972 and 1982 are a legal nullity.