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Which States Rescinded Their Ratifications of the ERA?

Rescission and the Equal Rights Amendment During the 1970s


During the 1970s, 35 states ratified the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Five of those states later rescinded their ERA ratifications for various reasons. The five states that rescinded their ERA ratifications were:

  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee

There is some question regarding the legitimacy of the five rescissions, for several reasons. Among the legal questions:

  1. Were the states legally rescinding only incorrectly worded procedural resolutions but still leaving the amendment ratification intact?
  2. Are all ERA questions moot because the deadline has passed?
  3. Do states have the power to rescind an amendment ratification? Article V of the Constitution deals with the process of amending the Constitution, but it talks only about ratification and does not empower states to rescind ratifications. There is legal precedent invalidating rescission of other amendment ratifications.

Many feminists continue to work for passage of an amendment guaranteeing equality of rights under the law. Some legal scholars have advocated a three-states strategy, arguing that the 35 ratifications from the 1970s are still valid because the ERA deadline for ratification was only part of the accompanying instructions, not the text of the amendment.

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