The Attorney General of Virginia is withdrawing from the lawsuit on the Equal Rights Amendment

RICHMAND, Virginia (AP) – Attorney General of the Republic of Virginia Jason Miares moved on Friday to withdraw the state from the trial which seeks to force the federal government to recognize Virginia’s vote in 2020 for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and add text to the Constitution.

In a court statement, Miares asked to dismiss the Commonwealth as a participant in a lawsuit that was initiated by his predecessor from the Democrats and is currently being heard in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Miares, who took office on January 15, reconsidered Virginia’s position and believes the district court was previously correct dismissed the claimsaid in the filing.

Former Attorney General Mark Herrin and two other attorneys general from the Democratic Party originally filed the lawsuit in January 2020, days after the adoption of the Virginia Legislature. voted make the Commonwealth a crucial 38th state for ratification of the amendment. The vote came after years of efforts by advocates who argued that the amendment guarantees women equal rights under the law. Miares, then a member of the House of Delegates, voted against ratification.

Constitutional amendments must be ratified by three-quarters of the states, or 38. But to complicate matters, Congress has introduced a deadline for ratification of the ERA that passed decades ago. A number of states have also revoked their ratifications.

Following the vote in Virginia in 2020, Trump’s Justice Department issued a legal note concluding that since the deadline expired, it was too late for states to ratify. The only option for supporters was to start the process again in Congress, the department said at the time.

The National Archives, which testifies to the ratification of the constitutional amendments, said it would adhere to that view “unless otherwise determined by a final court ruling.”

Nevada and Illinois, which were the 36th and 37th states to ratify the amendment, then joined Virginia in court with an archivist.

In March 2021, a district court judge appointed by former President Barack Obama granted a request by the administration of President Donald Trump and a group of Republican attorneys general to dismiss the lawsuit.

The applicants appealed filing the opening in January.

Victoria LaChivita, a spokeswoman for Miares, said Friday that “any further involvement in the lawsuit will undermine the U.S. Constitution and the amendment process.”

She referred not only to the ruling in March 2021, but also memo dated 26 January from the Office of Legal Advice of the Ministry of Justice, which did not depart from the preliminary conclusion that the ratification period had passed.

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement that his office would continue its appeal. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raul’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment by e-mail on Friday.

Proponents say the Equal Rights Amendment, originally proposed by Congress in 1923 and passed in 1972, would enshrine women’s equality in the Constitution, offering stronger protection in cases of sex discrimination and giving Congress stronger grounds for passing anti-discrimination laws. . Opponents warn that this impairs the protection of common sense for women, such as placement in the workplace during pregnancy, and could be used to support abortion rights.

Revealed 2020 survey by the Associated Press-NORC Public Relations Research Center about 3 out of 4 Americans supported the amendment on gender equality.

The news of Virginia’s exit was welcomed by the conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which had previously filed a lawsuit against a member of the court, opposing Virginia’s original position.

“The Equal Rights Amendment has been legally dead for decades because its supporters have been unable to enlist the necessary support from the states to amend the Constitution,” Kristen Waggoner, the group’s attorney general, said in a statement. “Virginia has made the right decision to drop this failed lawsuit.”

Douglas Johnson, director of the ERA National Right to Life project, said Herring was involved in the “swing” before it was “beaten up” at the district court level.

“Virginia is encouraged to remove herself before the next round of lawsuits,” he said.

Democrats including Herringmeanwhile criticized the move.

Minority minority leader Eileen Filler-Korn said Virginia Republicans “tried to undermine the will of the Virginia legislature and people by opposing the ERA.”

Virginia Democratic Chair Susan Svecker said Miares “sabotaged two years of work on the issue, calling the move” another truly disgusting effort to run his discriminatory, far-right and inviolable agenda. “

Friday’s serve was the last in the series making Miyarez to overturn the legal cases undertaken by Herring.

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