- Virginia AG Miyares has withdrawn from a lawsuit seeking to compel the government to recognize the state’s ERA ratification.
- The Commonwealth joined the push under former Democratic AG Mark Herring.
- In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, aided by newly-elected Democratic legislators.
Virginia Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares has withdrawn the state from a lawsuit seeking to compel the federal government to recognize the Commonwealth’s 2020 ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and place the text in the US Constitution, according to the Associated Press.
Miyares in a Friday court filing requested that the Commonwealth be removed as a party to the lawsuit, which was backed by his predecessor — former Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring — and is in the appeals process before the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The amendment — which has been championed by legions of women across many generations — states 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.”
Two years ago, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment — meeting the two-thirds threshold to be added to the Constitution — but the extended congressional deadline for passage was nearly four decades ago, on June 30, 1982.
At the time of the initial 1979 deadline, 35 states had ratified the amendment — three short of what was needed at the time to meet the constitutional requirements.
Miyares’ office said that a range of legal opinions deemed the 2020 ratification as too late to count.
“Any further participation in this lawsuit would undermine the U.S. Constitution and its amendment process,” said Victoria LaCivita, a spokesperson for the attorney general.
The Department of Justice last month issued an opinion stating that ratification of the amendment is in the hands of Congress.
The decision by Miyares represents a stunning reversal to the Democratic momentum which led to the ERA’s passage in the Virginia House of Delegates after the party regained control of the lower chamber for the first time in 20 years.
The bill was introduced by then-state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy of Prince William County — who was a 2021 gubernatorial candidate in last year’s Democratic primary — to much fanfare.
While virtually all Democrats backed the bill, only a smattering of House Republicans supported the final version of the legislation.
Miyares – who was a state delegate from Virginia Beach at the time — voted against the bill.