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AG Nessel Files Amicus Brief Supporting the ERA in D.C. Court of Appeals

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is supporting the Commonwealth of Virginia and the states of Illinois and Nevada in an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The amicus brief, filed today, asks the Court to reverse the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and declare the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as the 28th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. It also highlights the important work of Michigan's own Martha Griffiths, known as the "Mother of the ERA."

The three states sued in 2020 after ratifying the ERA amendment, arguing that the Archivist of the United States should certify it as the 28th Amendment because their individual ratifications put the ERA at the three-fourths threshold needed to validate a constitutional amendment. Under the Constitution, constitutional amendments are valid once 38 states ratify.

A federal judge in the D.C. Circuit ruled in March that the states' ratifications came after deadlines that Congress attached to the ERA, so the Archivist is not bound to record them. The states appealed that decision and Nessel's brief supports them in that endeavor.

"Michigan would like to see the work of Martha Griffiths, a Michigan hero who worked tirelessly for sex equality and who championed the ERA, come to fruition.  And Michigan has an interest in ensuring that its residents receive the highest level of protection from discrimination on the basis of sex-a goal that can be achieved by ensuring that the ERA's guarantee of equality is enshrined in our nation's most treasured document-the United States Constitution," the brief states in part.

"It's a frustrating reality that in 2022 we're still arguing equality before our courts," Nessel said. "While we've made great strides in recent decades, those gains fall short of full protection under the law - protection the ERA would provide. I fully support the plaintiff states in this appeal and want to see the ERA become the 28th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution."

You can read the entire brief on the Department's website.