14th Amendment not enough to protect women from discrimination
Jeff Jacoby’s opinion piece, “The Equal Rights Amendment is dead” (Ideas, March 22) overlooks the importance of a constitutional amendment in times where a misogynist government can quickly take away women’s’ rights.
The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment does not specifically mention sex discrimination, so the inclusion of equal protection of sexes is entirely up to the Supreme Court’s discretion. Although the court currently includes sex discrimination under the 14th Amendment with Reed v. Reed, a biased court could strike this practice down with one decision. As a reminder, both Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas still serve as Supreme Court justices despite credible accusations of sexual misconduct.
While it is true that the ERA has passed its deadlines and it may be necessary to start again from scratch, Jacoby fails to address the dire need for such a constitutional amendment. The 14th Amendment is too broad. Title IX is too specific, and easily can be struck down. In the current times, when sudden and radical policy shifts are frequent, nothing short of a constitutional amendment can provide permanent protection against sex discrimination.
The cause of the ERA is very much alive
Jeff Jacoby seems to have decided for all of us that the Equal Rights Amendment is dead.
What are his reasons?
First, he cites process, arguing that the deadline has passed.
The House of Representatives already voted to eliminate the deadline for the ERA on Feb. 13 of this year. The Supreme Court ruled that Congress governs disputes over ratification of amendments.
Jacoby suggests that proponents refused to see “the obvious.” The obvious is that 94 percent of the American people believe the amendment is necessary for true equality. Last I checked, democracies continue to be governed by the people.
Then he argues that it’s no longer necessary, quoting Jennifer Braceras, a legal scholar, who says that “American women and men are truly equal under the Constitution.”
Tell that to pregnant women who are being fired from their jobs because of pregnancy. A 2015 Supreme Court ruling (Young v. United Parcel Service) suggests it’s OK if the employer has a “sufficiently strong” reason.
The Equal Rights Amendment will give us one foundation for the long trip to equality. Let’s not be duped into believing it is buried and unnecessary.