Thursday, January 09, 2020

One of These Things is Not Like The Other

Thing One:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

Thing Two:

Initially, Congress said the ERA -- passed in 1972 -- would be obsolete if not ratified by the required three-quarters of state legislatures by a 1979 deadline. Later, Congress extended this deadline to 1982. It still wasn't met.

"We conclude that Congress had the constitutional authority to impose a deadline on the ratification of the ERA and, because that deadline has expired, the ERA Resolution is no longer pending before the States," DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel said in a January 6 opinion, released yesterday.

I've read Thing One carefully, several times, and nowhere in it do I find any mention of a congressional power to decide how much time the states have to ratify an amendment.

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