DELEGATE Mark Cole’s Democrat opponent, Jess Foster, is either ignorant of the facts regarding the proposed Equal Rights Amendment or is manipulating them.
A Foster press release published in Blue Virginia claims that Del. Cole cited a non-existent 1994 Virginia attorney general’s opinion. She demanded that Cole produce the opinion, which stated that the time for ratification of the ERA had expired.
I was the one who requested and received that opinion, which was prepared by Deputy Attorney General Walter Felton in Attorney General Jim Gilmore’s office on Feb. 3, 1994.
Further, a 1997 article in the William and Mary Journal of Race, Gender and Social Justice, which falsely claims that only three states are now needed to “ratify” the ERA, cited the same opinion on page 124:
“In 1994, Virginia’s Deputy Attorney General, Walter S. Felton, Jr., issued the only formal opinion concerning the validity of the ERA in light of its ‘expired’ time limit. In 1994, Felton stated that the ERA was not currently before the states for ratification because its original and extended time limits had expired.”
I have furnished the Free Lance-Star with a copy of the Deputy AG’s letter. Foster also believes that states cannot rescind prior ratifications of the ERA. But U.S. Solicitor General Robert Jackson argued in Coleman v. Miller regarding ratification of the Child Labor Amendment: “It is perhaps enough to say that distinguished authority, can be found for the view that, until an amendment has been adopted by the ratifications of three-fourths of the States, the States do have power to rescind their ratifications.” Jackson was later a U.S. attorney general, associate justice of the Supreme Court, and chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Trials. But Foster demands we ignore Del. Cole and Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who never graduated from law school.
In 1982, the U.S. solicitor general noted that Idaho’s federal District Court “declared that the state rescissions nullified the prior ratifications, that Congress could establish the period in which ratifications would be valid only by a two-thirds vote, and that in any case Congress lacked the power to extend the ratification period for a proposed amendment once that period had been established. … Consequently, the Amendment has failed of adoption …”
On Oct. 31, 1977, John Harmon, assistant attorney general at the Justice Department under President Jimmy Carter, wrote to the Hon. Robert Lipshutz, President Carter’s counsel, that: “Certainly, if a time limit has expired before an intervening Congress has taken action to extend that limit, a strong argument could be made that the only constitutional means of reviving a proposed amendment would be to propose the amendment anew by two-thirds vote of each House … ”
Foster pretends that Congress did not recognize rescissions of the 14th Amendment by Ohio and New Jersey. Yet the Congressional Globe notes that the 14th Amendment was ratified on July 21, 1868, the very day Congress received a telegram indicating Georgia had ratified the amendment-which meant there already were 28 states without New Jersey and Ohio!
Foster thinks that if the 2020 General Assembly passes an ERA ratification resolution, Virginia will be the final 38th state needed to make the ERA part of our U.S. Constitution.
She claims that Virginia can “ratify” the ERA 37 years after the second ERA deadline expired with only three states instead of 38. That is a wrong and dangerous notion.
Virginians prize equality, but reject biased, contriving and convenient ERA ratification rules.
Passing the ERA will mean unrestricted tax-funded abortion; compelling women and girls to compete against men and boys in sports; abolishing female privacy in prisons, locker rooms, and women’s shelters; subjecting women to Selective Service and front-line ground combat; ending all programs designated for women-owned businesses, scholarships, alimony, and preferred insurance rates.
Virginians who don’t want that to happen should vote for Mark Cole on Nov. 5.