Maloney Urges Archivist, Biden Administration to Certify and Publish the ERA

WASHINGTON, DC – On October 21, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent letters to President Biden and Vice President Harris, as well Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, calling for the withdrawal of a faulty legal memo from the prior Administration blocking action on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and for the Archivist to certify and publish the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

“I know we stand united on this front, and I appreciate your strong support for the Equal Rights Amendment. I write today to urge your Administration to take the necessary steps to rescind an erroneous legal memorandum from the previous Administration that is obstructing the adoption of the ERA,” wrote the Chairwoman to President Biden and Vice President Harris.

In January 2020, the Trump Administration’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued a legal opinion before Virginia ratified the ERA, attempting to block completion of the ratification process. On January 8, 2020, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) stated that it would “abide by the OLC opinion.” Today, the ERA has been ratified by the necessary three-fourths of states and the requirements under Article V of the U.S. Constitution have been met, but the Archivist has not certified and published the Amendment.

The letter highlighted a new legal analysis of the Trump OLC memo by preeminent constitutional and legal scholars affiliated with Columbia Law School’s ERA Project, including Erwin Chemerinsky. These scholars found that the Trump Administration’s OLC memo is based on a faulty legal analysis and should be withdrawn.

The Chairwoman also urged the Archivist to perform his ministerial role to certify and publish the ERA without delay.

“As Chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, and as a woman whose equality under the law is still not reflected in my own Constitution, I thank you for your attention to this important matter,” concluded the Chairwoman.

The letter to the Archivist may be viewed online: https://bit.ly/3jpsVNA.

The letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris is available online: https://bit.ly/3pqwczN.

The legal analysis by the Columbia Law School ERA Project is also available online: https://bit.ly/3niqIVc.


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