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Women’s groups urge federal court: Acknowledge the ERA is legally dead

ADF files brief on behalf of Concerned Women for America, Susan B. Anthony List

Friday, Jul 24, 2020
WASHINGTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Concerned Women for America and Susan B. Anthony List filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday that urges the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to acknowledge that the Equal Rights Amendment’s ratification deadline has expired.

Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, promotes constitutional principles through advocacy and has led campaigns and participated in litigation against the ERA. Susan B. Anthony List, named for a champion of women’s equal rights, has consistently advocated against ratification of the amendment, through public opposition to attempted state ratifications and through coordinated lobbying of Congress.

“The Equal Rights Amendment is legally dead,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle. “Congress gave states seven years to ratify it, a deadline that came and went decades ago. Honest advocates for the ERA have long understood that their time has expired, and any legitimate effort to add this amendment to the Constitution must start over from the beginning. If the current campaign to illegally sneak the ERA into the Constitution is successful, the rule of law will be undermined as the Constitution’s amendment process is discarded for political convenience. Even long-time supporter of the ERA, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, acknowledges that the recent push comes ‘long after the deadline passed’ and that ERA advocates should ‘start over.’”

The brief filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Commonwealth of Virginia v. Ferriero explains that Congress set a valid seven-year time limit for ratification that ended in 1979. In addition, the brief notes, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed ERA litigation as moot after the time for ratification expired and, “Remarkably, none of the parties before the Supreme Court disagreed with the incontrovertible point that the ratification period was forever closed.”
  • Pronunciation guide: Harle (HAR’-lee)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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ABOUT Denise Harle

Denise Harle serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a member of the Center for Life. In this role, she focuses her litigation efforts on defending the First Amendment freedoms of pro-life health care professionals and pregnancy resource centers. From 2015 to 2017, prior to joining ADF, Harle served as deputy solicitor general in the Office of the Florida Attorney General. Additionally, in 2017, Harle participated in the prestigious Supreme Court Fellow program, sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General. After clerking for Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky L. Polston, Harle joined the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, where she worked as an associate in the litigation and appellate practice groups from 2011 to 2015. Harle earned bachelor’s degrees, summa cum laude, in psychology and interdisciplinary social science from Florida State University. She subsequently acquired a master’s degree in political science from Stanford University, followed by a Juris Doctor at Duke University School of Law. A member of the state bars of California, Florida, and Georgia, she is admitted to multiple federal district and appellate courts.