A panel of federal judges expressed skepticism Wednesday about two states’ effort to enshrine gender equality in the U.S. Constitution by getting the federal government to recognize the Equal Rights Amendment decades after it was considered dead.

At a hearing Wednesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Illinois and Nevada sparred with the Justice Department over whether their ratification of the proposed constitutional amendment, long after a congressionally set deadline to do so had passed, should count for something.

The states are arguing that the deadline Congress set for ratification nearly three decades ago is an unconstitutional encroachment on state power. A lawyer for the Justice Department countered that, while the Biden administration agrees with the principles of the Equal Rights Amendment, the executive branch can’t unilaterally decide whether it is part of the Constitution.

Wash Times, Equal Rights Amendment Faces Tough Questions from Appeals Court

The Equal Rights Amendment ran into a skeptical federal appeals court Wednesday, with judges signaling they are wary of ordering the National Archives to certify the amendment as a valid part of the Constitution.

One judge worried about the implications of the courts stepping into the dispute, while another suggested the Supreme Court has already closed the door on the ERA, a 1970s-era proposal that seeks to become the 28th Amendment to the national government’s founding document.


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