South Dakota 1 of 3 states suing to block Equal Rights Amendment
Three states have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota are suing in response to a renewed push to get the required 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
The ERA would ban discrimination on the basis of sex. Congress proposed it in 1972, giving a seven-year deadline for the amendment to be ratified by 38 states.
In a press release, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg noted that the South Dakota legislature initially ratified the ERA back in 1973, but the state rescinded that ratification after it failed to get passed by enough states before the deadline.
The lawsuit comes in response to a renewed push in the Virginia legislature to ratify the ERA, which would make it the 38th state to do so, thus fulfilling the initial requirement of the proposal.
Ravnsborg said the political process to enact the ERA must restart from the beginning.
"This is an issue following the rule of law, the rules that our founding fathers put into place to protect us from government making decisions without the consent or support of 'we the people,'" Ravnsborg said.
The lawsuit seeks to prevent David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, from accepting a new ratification from any state.
The South Dakota Democratic Party issued a press release rebuking the state's involvement in the lawsuit.
“It’s astounding that the same year we’re planning a celebration of 100 years of women having the right to vote, our state is spending taxpayer dollars to make sure the U.S. Constitution doesn’t include equal rights for women under the law," state Democratic Party vice-chair Nikki Gronli said.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)