A federal district court judge ruled late Friday that recent state votes to ratify the proposed Equal Rights Amendment came too late to make it part of the Constitution.
The ruling was a defeat for ERA supporters and the three states that asked the judge to declare that the amendment became formally adopted after Virginia last year became the 38th state to ratify it.
Along with Illinois and Nevada, Virginia argued that the Constitution does not give Congress any power to set a time limit on the ratification process. They also argued that the deadline had no force of law, since it was placed only in the amendment's proposing clause, not in the actual text that the states voted on.
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