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Attorney General William Tong

06/30/2020

Attorney General Tong Joins Amicus Brief in Support of Equal Rights Amendment

(Hartford, CT) -- Today, Attorney General William Tong joined a coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia in filing an amicus brief arguing that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) must be accepted as the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In January, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA. Now that three quarters of the states have ratified, the National Archivist is legally required to record the ERA as the 28th Amendment. But the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice told the Archivist to take no action, arguing that the deadline for ratification has passed. The lawsuit to compel the Archivist to record the ERA is brought by Virginia, Illinois, and Nevada, the last three states to ratify the amendment.

“The ERA should now be the 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” Attorney General Tong said. “Justice and fairness don’t have an expiration date. Now that three-quarters of the states have ratified the ERA, the Constitution is clear: The ERA ‘shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution.’ The Trump administration’s fight against the ERA is yet another attempt to discriminate and undermine our rule of law. I've said it before and I will say it again: Every person in the United States deserves equal treatment under our Constitution, and sex-based discrimination is always wrong. End of story.”

When it becomes the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the ERA will protect every U.S. resident against discrimination based on sex. It provides that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Beyond the states’ interest in protecting our residents from discrimination, the brief also outlines their interest in protecting their “role as sovereign participants in the constitutional amendment process.” “Connecticut ratified the ERA in 1973,” Tong said. “Our state has spoken clearly on this: We reject discrimination here in Connecticut and everywhere in the United States. We’re joining this brief to protect our residents and our values.”

Joining Attorney General Tong in the coalition, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, are the attorneys general of Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin and the governor of Kansas.
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