Leveling the playing field between women and men should be a priority for North Dakota legislators, but Senate Concurrent Resolution 4010 suggests otherwise.
The ACLU of North Dakota opposes SCR 4010, legislation that would rescind North Dakota’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
The Equal Rights Amendment is just as critical today as it was in 1972.
“In 2021, women are still not treated equally in our society,” said Libby Skarin, ACLU of North Dakota campaigns director. “Women, on average, are paid only 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, and, for women of color, the wage gap is even greater. Women are vastly overrepresented among those living in poverty and women are disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence and other forms of harassment. Women are also vastly underrepresented among those holding political office and other positions of power.”
Additionally, the ACLU of North Dakota disagrees with the assertions that North Dakota’s approval to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment expired 40 years ago. In fact, attempts to “rescind” or limit a ratification have never been effective.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution speaks only to the states’ power to ratify an amendment but not to the power to rescind a ratification. Looking to Congress’ historical practice of not validating the rescissions from state legislatures in the context of constitutional amendments, it is likely that Congress would act accordingly in the case of the ERA.
“A ratification is something that happens at a moment in time — for North Dakota, in 1975 – and once it’s done, it’s done,” Skarin says. “It is most likely that if SCR 4010 advances, the vote to rescind North Dakota’s ratification of the ERA is a legal nullity.”
SCR 4010 is schedule to be heard in the Senate’s Government and Veterans Affairs Committee today. The ACLU of North Dakota provided written testimony in opposition (see below).
About the ACLU of North Dakota
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.
The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.