The District of Columbia appellate court Tuesday struck down attempts from several states to codify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the U.S. Constitution.

In 1972, Congress submitted the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification and set a seven-year ratification deadline. The deadline came and went without the necessary 38 states ratifying the ERA.

In recent years, several states, including Nevada, Illinois and Virginia, filed suit to induce federal archivists to certify the states' ratification of the ERA, despite the ratification date passing decades ago.

Many have asserted that the ERA could be instrumental in re-inserting the right to abortion into the Constitution. Abortion has not been recognized as a constitutional right since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe V. Wade in June 2022.

Alabama and several other states filed motions to block the ratification, claiming that the amendment process would have to begin anew if the ERA were to be enacted.

On Tuesday, the D.C. appellate court affirmed Alabama's position, holding that the challenging states had not shown a clear legal right to have a federal court order the Archivist to certify the proposed amendment. The court noted that the ratification deadline had long expired, rejecting the challenging states' argument that the deadline was invalid or could otherwise be ignored.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall applauded the decision, calling the entire ordeal an attempt to "unconstitutionally amend our Constitution."

"Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed with our argument that Nevada and Illinois cannot purport to ratify a proposed amendment that expired decades ago and then force the Archivist to sneak the Equal Rights Amendment into the Constitution," said Marshall. "This is a significant victory for the rule of law."

"We are glad the court rejected plaintiffs' calls to unconstitutionally amend our Constitution," he continued. "If activists want a new ERA, they should persuade their fellow Americans that it makes sense, then pass it through Congress and a new state ratification process. As the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a noted proponent of the ERA — stated, the ERA cannot become law unless it is 'put back in the political hopper and we start over again collecting the necessary states to ratify it.' Any other route would undermine the rule of law upon which we all depend."

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