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Illinois joins appeal for Equal Rights Amendment to be recognized

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Illinois this week joined an effort for the Equal Rights Amendment to be recognized as the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Illinois Attoreny General Kwame Raoul and other state attorneys general filed the notice of appeal this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after a judge dismissed a lawsuit in March. The lawsuit, lead by Raoul, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, was filed in 2020 to ensure that the Equal Rights Amendment is acknowledged as the 28th Amendment, enshrining equal rights for women in the Constitution. Approximately 108 business groups, 95 advocacy groups and bar associations, and 21 states and the District of Columbia have filed amicus briefs supporting Raoul’s lawsuit. Raoul and the attorneys general will argue that the district court judge overlooked the role that Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states to amend the Constitution and gave too much weight to a deadline that Congress attached to the amendment.

“It is unacceptable there is any discussion about whether equal rights for all are protected under the Constitution, especially since the Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified in accordance with the Constitution,” Raoul said. “It is past time that women across the country have the constitutional equality that they deserve and are entitled to, which is why I am committed to fighting to ensure that the Equal Rights Amendment is recognized as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.”

“Equality is and should be for both men and women,” Ford said. “How much longer should the women in this country wait to be afforded equal protection under this country’s founding documents? As I’ve always promised, my office will use every legal tool at its disposal to fight for women’s rights. We will now weigh our options with this litigation moving forward.”

In March, the district court ruled that Illinois, Nevada and Virginia did not have standing to sue because they had not been injured by the U.S. archivist’s failure to certify and publish the Equal Rights Amendment. The court further held that even if the states had standing, a Congressional deadline passed before those three states ratified the amendment. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to remove the deadline in March, and the U.S. Senate is also considering a bill to remove that timeframe. 

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