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STOP ERA
Back to ERA Information
Top ten cases that prove the
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
would have been a disaster:

1.Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57 (1981), which allowed an all-male draft, thereby reversing the lower court that had invalidated it. By a 6-3 majority, the Court held that Article I, section 8 of the Constitution gave Congress the power to run the military, including differentiating based on gender. ERA would have narrowed that power by imposing a strict constitutional condition: treat men and women alike.
2. Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980), which upheld the Hyde Amendment limiting federal funding of abortion, thereby reversing a lower court that had invalidated it. By a slim 5-4 majority, the Court held that the Hyde Amendment is not predicated on a constitutionally suspect classification. ERA would have established women as a constitutionally suspect classification, and would have required federally funded abortions. See N.M. Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson, 975 P.2d 841 (1998).
3.Heterosexual-only marriage is currently the law in all fifty states and was the purpose for the federal Defense of Marriage Act (28 U.S.C. 1738C). But ERA would have prohibited such sex-based limitations on marriage. See Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (1993).
4.Ohio v. Akron Ctr. for Reproductive Health, 497 U.S. 502 (1990), which upheld the parental notification requirements for Ohio minors seeking abortions, thereby reversing both the district and appellate courts that had invalidated the law. The 6-3 Court upheld the Ohio statute even though it inevitably treated teenage girls differently from their boyfriends in procuring abortions. ERA would have likely eliminated parental notification laws.
5.Tax exemptions are not allowed for schools that discriminate in a manner prohibited by the Constitution. Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983). ERA would have likely caused many single-sex private schools to lose their tax exemption -- which is what many ERA supporters want.
6.United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000), which applied the Constitution to block federal intrusion into family law as attempted through the Violence Against Women Act. ERA would have created federal control over all issues affecting women, including family and marriage-related issues, and greatly increased the influence of the national media over these sensitive issues.
7. Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000), which upheld the right of the Boy Scouts to exclude homosexuals and, implicitly, limit its membership to boys. By a slim 5-4 majority, the Court found that there was no compelling state interest to override the First Amendment rights of the Boy Scouts. But ERA would have been on equal footing as the First Amendment, and likely ended the Boy Scouts' sex-based rules of membership.
8.Personnel Adm'r of Massachusetts v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256 (1979), which affirmed the power of states to give preferential treatment to veterans even though they are overwhelmingly male. ERA would have prevented many veterans programs that have a disparate impact on the sexes.
9.Parham v. Hughes, 441 U.S. 347 (1979), which upheld the state's ability to disfavor procreation outside of marriage by denying certain rights to the father of an illegitimate child. The Court held that "[i]n cases where men and women are not similarly situated ... and a statutory classification is realistically based upon the differences in their situations, this Court has upheld its validity." ERA would have precluded this.
10.Miller v. Albright, 523 U.S. 420 (1998), which upheld Congress' power to limit immigration by children born to foreign mothers and unmarried American fathers. The Court, in a 6-3 split, upheld a federal law making it more difficult for a foreign-born child of an allegedly illegitimate American father to establish citizenship than if the child's mother had been the American. Justice Stevens, one of the more liberal members of the Court, held that the "biological differences between single men and single women provide a relevant basis for differing rules governing their ability to confer citizenship on children born in foreign lands." ERA would not have allowed such sex-based statutory preference, which was bitterly criticized by the dissent.

 
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