Townhall.com George Will April 1, 2007
WASHINGTON — Liberals, dolled up in love beads and bell-bottom trousers, have had another bright idea, one as fresh as other 1970s fads. Sens. Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer and Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, high-octane liberals all, have asked Congress to improve the Constitution by adding the Women’s Equality Amendment, which, like the Equal Rights Amendment before it, says: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Although it was first introduced in Congress in 1923, the ERA went nowhere until March 22, 1972. Then Congress sent it to the states to be ratified or rejected by March 22, 1979, the standard seven years stipulated to assure that there is a contemporaneous consensus for any constitutional change.
[ … ]
All amendments generate litigation, but the ERA’s purpose is to generate litigation. It is a device to get courts to impose social policies that supporters of the policies cannot convince legislatures to enact. ERA — now WEA — supporters, being politically lazy, prefer the shortcut of litigation to the patient politics necessary to pass legislation.
If Kennedy and like-minded legislators think the condition of American women needs improvements, they should try to legislate them. Instead, they prefer to hope that liberal judges will regard the ERA’s language as a license to legislate. But, then, support for the amendment testifies to the supporters’ lack of confidence in their ability to persuade people to support such policies.
. . . more