Brigham Young University Prelaw Review


Teresa Haddock


Equal Rights Amendment, Constitution, Bill of Rights


The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) proposed by Congress on 22 March 1972 would have become valid if ratified by three-fourths of the states within a seven year period from the date of submission. Thirty-five of the required thirty-eight states ratified the amendment. Before the time expired, Idaho, Nebraska, Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Dakota had all attempted to rescind their ratifications, but were denied the option to change their vote. Also, in October of 1978, Congress decided to extend the seven-year period until 30 June 1982. Four members of the Idaho legislature brought suit in Idaho vs. Freeman. The plaintiffs argument is structured into three distinct claims:

  1. That Idaho's subsequent rescission effectively nullified the earlier approval.

  2. That once the original seven year period ran out, all proceedings were concluded.

  3. That if Congress had any power to extend the period, the same two-thirds majority would be required in each House that was required for the original resolution in 1972.

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