Statement on the Justice Department Opinion

For Immediate Release

(Jan 8, 2020) Richmond, VA – The ERA Coalition strongly disagrees with the Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion that the time limit on ERA ratification cannot be removed. We call on Congress to redouble its efforts to remove the time limit and we call on all remaining 13 states to ratify the ERA following the lead of Nevada, Illinois and soon Virginia. This OLC opinion is not binding on Congress, the courts, or the states that have expressed their ongoing will to give women constitutional equality.

The ERA Coalition would like to highlight the following comments from Erwin Chemerinksy, Dean of UC Berkeley Law School and member of the ERA Coalition Legal Task Force:

A) It is the opinion of the Department of Justice and not binding on Congress or the courts.

B) It begs the key question: It stresses that Congress has the authority to set deadlines. That is true. But it doesn’t answer whether Congress can change them. In other words, it doesn’t explain why deadlines set by Congress cannot be extended by Congress. It never denies that deadlines are not part of the amendment itself which was ratified by the states.

C) It doesn’t address that ultimately this is a question for Congress to resolve for itself. Under Coleman v Miller (and also the precedent of the Fourteenth Amendment), there is a strong argument that the process of ratifying amendments, and determining whether an amendment has been ratified, is up to Congress. It is a political question to be resolved by the elected branches of government and not the courts.

For more information about the Equal Rights Amendment and ERA Coalition, please visit our website.


ABOUT THE ERA COALITION: The ERA Coalition was founded in 2014 to bring concerted, organized action to the effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA Coalition has a sister organization, the Fund for Women’s Equality, which promotes public education and outreach on the need for constitutional equality. Comprised of nearly one hundred organizations across the country, the Coalition provides education and advocacy on Constitutional Equality. The ERA Coalition’s groundbreaking research indicates that more than 94% of all Americans want an Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA Coalition has offices in New York City and Washington, DC.

Press Contact: Marianne Stack 804-405-1678  or

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