Colleen Shogun told lawmakers that if she is installed as the next head of the National Archives, she will not short-circuit the process of adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.

Ms. Shogun said it was up to Congress and the courts to decide whether the ERA, which Democrats have tried to resurrect from the legislative docket, is valid.

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“I think who will decide the fate of the ERA is the federal judiciary and/or Congress,” he said Wednesday under questioning from Sen. Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio.

He also agreed to be bound by a 2020 Justice Department opinion that concluded the ERA, at least the version Congress presented to states in the 1970s, is a dead letter and cannot be resurrected. .

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His comments came during a hearing before a Senate committee.

Archives must be approved by the Senate before taking over.

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By law, the archivist is in charge of collecting documents related to amendments to the Constitution, and is usually the one who verifies that the required three-quarters of the states have ratified a new amendment, making it the founding document. I include

But the ERA’s ratification path has prevented easy certification.

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It was proposed by Congress to the states in 1972, with lawmakers placing a seven-year limit on ratification. As the 1979 deadline approached, only 35 states had ratified, or three shy of that number.

Congress then passed legislation to extend the deadline another three years, but no new states had ratified until 1982, and the amendment was generally considered dead.

In the last decade, though, supporters convinced state legislatures that the amendment could be reinstated, and Nevada, Illinois and Virginia — all original holdouts — got to hold ratification votes. The backers then filed those votes in the archives and demanded certification, saying both the 1979 deadline and the 1982 deadline were incorrect. He also said that the five states that voted to revoke their ratification in the 1970s should be ignored.

The key text of the Equal Rights Amendment reads: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Analysts say it could make it easier to sue for sex-based discrimination, and could potentially be used to enforce abortion rights, though those claims are hotly debated. Is.

A federal judge has ruled that Congress’s ERA deadline was valid, and the amendment is dead.

ERA supporters have appealed the decision, and oral arguments are scheduled for September 28 in the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Supporters of the amendment are also trying to pressure Senate Democrats to vote on a measure that would remove the ratification deadline. Backers say it would remove a barrier to certification for archives.

The measure has already passed the Democratic-controlled House.

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