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More on the ERA:

There are new posts on the subject from John Rosenberg (Discriminations) and Andrew Koppelman (Balkinization). An excerpt from Koppelman's post:

Somin and Volokh are right that conservative Federal judges might seize on the ERA as a reason to invalidate sex-based affirmative action programs and special protections for women's sports. But those aren't the effects that ERA proponents have in mind.

When I said that the ERA would make no difference [referring to something Koppelman said to Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman -EV], I was thinking about the difference that its proponents say it will have. Rep. Carolyn Maloney reportedly "noted that women still get only 77 cents for every dollar that men are paid, that only 3 percent of federal contracts go to women-owned firms, and that the poverty rate of older women in nearly twice that of older men." There is no reason to think that prohibitions on sex-based classifications will ameliorate any of these problems....

I suspect that the real rationale for pushing this now was better stated by Terry O'Neill, executive director of the National Council of Women's Organizations: "I would love for the American people to see who votes against women's equality." If one could get Democratic legislators to speak candidly about why they're supporting a measure that does so little that's real for their constituents, I imagine that they'd say this:

"Yes, it's true that this is an empty, symbolic gesture. But there are going to be political costs for Republicans who vote against this, just as there were political costs for Democrats who voted against the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Both of them are silly, demagogic measures. But that's how the political game is played these days...."

AppSocRes (mail):
The majority of Americans are not stupid: An even larger majority do not share the ideology of NOW and its allies. The attempted resurrection of the ERA will be a matter of complete indifference to most women and men in this country, may annoy many middle-of-the-roaders, and will energize the right. The complete inability of the left to comprehend the lives of most Americans is laughable: It makes Marie "Let them eat cake" Antoinette look like Hughey Long in comparison.
4.13.2007 6:26pm
PaulB (mail):
One question that I haven't seen covered by Cosnpiracy members or posters regarding the ERA-would it require the end of gender segregated prisons? I seem to recall that the Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated prisons were not permissible (you lawyer types can dig up the citation)even if the sole motivation of the state was to prevent inmate violence against one another.
4.13.2007 7:37pm
Henri LeCompte (mail):
I suppose I'll get crap for this, but here goes.... This quote bugged me:

"Yes, it's true that this is an empty, symbolic gesture. But there are going to be political costs for Republicans who vote against this, just as there were political costs for Democrats who voted against the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Both of them are silly, demagogic measures. But that's how the political game is played these days...."


I don't think that the Defense of Marriage amendment is at all demagogic to the same degree as regurgitating the ERA. That is pure political theater. DoM amendments are not meant as pointless attempts to "trap" your political enemies in a no-win situation. Some people (?many) feel quite strongly about DoM.

Oh, and by the way, I just can't stand to allow this kind of statistical garbage to go unrebutted:


Rep. Carolyn Maloney reportedly "noted that women still get only 77 cents for every dollar that men are paid, that only 3 percent of federal contracts go to women-owned firms, and that the poverty rate of older women in nearly twice that of older men."


If you want to cherry pick your data points, I'll give you zillions of them in which men do worse than women (for instance-- suicides, people in prison, people on death row, high school drop-outs, college graduates, bla, bla, bla). The one that is singularly irritating is the "women make 77% of men's income" figure. It has been shown repeatedly that when you correct for child-bearing, those differences largely disappear. Women are free, and they tend in aggregate to make slightly different choices than men. Many women choose to take a few years off to raise children. Many pick positions or careers that are "mommy-track," rather than the "go,go,go/work 23hours a day" jobs that mainly men occupy. Men tend to get a lot more of their self esteem and sense of identity from their job success than women do.

All of which adds up to what? Free people making free choices that make nanny-state, government types like Ms. Maloney unhappy. Ain't freedom a bi-atch! (Next thing you know, if you let them, all those women will be buying SUVs and vans to keep all those kids safe! And where will it end?)
4.13.2007 9:12pm
PersonFromPorlock:
My suggestion is that the Republicans propose changing the word "sex" to "group" and then stand back while the Democrats run screaming.
4.13.2007 9:26pm
Brian K (mail):
HAHAHAHA....I can't believe you guys are actually saying that the DoMA wasn't put forward purely for political reasons. It had absolutely no chance of passing the senate and it was not at all certain that enough states would vote to ratify it. It was designed to 1) invigorate the religious right, 2) show the religious right that republicans are at least attempting to follow through on some of their promises and 3) provide ammunition to people running against democrats who didn't vote for the amendment. It was pure politics...nothing more and nothing less.

The ERA is no different, except in that it is a tool for liberals to use against conservatives.
4.13.2007 10:03pm
SocratesAbroad (mail):

HAHAHAHA....I can't believe you guys are actually saying that the DoMA wasn't put forward purely for political reasons. It had absolutely no chance of passing the senate and it was not at all certain that enough states would vote to ratify it.


I'd have to disagree. Mind you, I'm not a DoMA supporter (I don't even reside in the US), but as I understand it the DoM Act enjoyed overwhelming support in both Houses and the majority of states, meaning that DoMA is hardly "pure politics" and more a realistic legal step.
As noted by the President in 2004

Eight years ago, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

The Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342 to 67, and the Senate by a vote of 85 to 14. Those congressional votes and the passage of similar defensive marriage laws in 38 states express an overwhelming consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage.



"The ERA is no different" - Again, I beg to disagree. While the ERA was advocated to codify/elucidate women's rights amidst a climate conducive to such moves, DoMA represents a legal bulwark - "here and no further" - to curb increasing erosions of marriage's traditional structure.

Continuing, the President said

In recent months, however, some activist judges and local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage. In Massachusetts, four judges on the highest court have indicated they will order the issuance of marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender in May of this year. In San Francisco, city officials have issued thousands of marriage licenses to people of the same gender, contrary to the California family code. That code, which clearly defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, was approved overwhelmingly by the voters of California. A county in New Mexico has also issued marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender. And unless action is taken, we can expect more arbitrary court decisions, more litigation, more defiance of the law by local officials, all of which adds to uncertainty.
4.14.2007 7:08am
Brian K (mail):
SocratesAbroad,

Sorry for the confusion, I was referring to the same amendment that the previous posters were talking about, which is techinically named the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA). This amendment basically serves the same purpose as the DoMA.


he United States Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would define marriage in the United States as a union of one man and one woman. The FMA also would prevent judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples, as well as preventing people from having multiple spouses. The most recent vote on the proposed amendment took place in the Senate on June 7, 2006. The amendment failed to pass; of the 60 votes required to invoke the cloture motion, 49 senators voted for putting the amendment to vote and 48 voted against. When proposing constitutional amendments, two-thirds of each house must pass the proposal.


The amendment couldn't even get the backing of all conservatives in the senate...It had no chance of passing.

The president himself is hardly an objective source of information...he's not even a reliable source. What the president does and says is pure politics. (this is not a value judgment...the president is the chief political figure of his party and is supposed to play politics to some extent).

From Wikipedia:

However, Roberta Combs, President of the Christian Coalition of America claims, "Christian evangelicals made the major difference once again this year." In the 2000 Presidential Election, there was some speculation that many evangelicals did not go to the polls and vote because of the October surprise of George W. Bush's drunk-driving arrest record. In a dozen swing states that decided the presidential election, moral values tied with the economy and jobs as the top issue in the campaign, according to Associated Press exit polls. [20] Tthe question of what "moral values" means is open, however, to much interpretation. Take, for example, the state of Minnesota, where voters ranked moral values as their highest priority. Even so, Kerry still won the state.

Many people insist that the popularity of moral issues in the election was a consequence of voter affirmation for Bush policies. Additionally they claim that so-called moral issues are the clumping of topics that by default appeal to the GOP's base of voters, especially considering Bush's positions on the War on Terrorism. According to a Pace University Poll, most voters who voted with moral issues as a principal concern were happy with the state of the economy and also were early deciders in the Presidential race for Bush: 75% of new voters were self-declared Republicans, 68% were Southerners, and 67% were evangelicals.

Others claim that moral issues did not cause Bush's victory, since most Americans are amenable to allowing some benefits for same-sex couples. But the way the Federal Marriage Amendment was introduced, specifically forcing an "all or nothing" approach to the issue, may have benefited the GOP.

- yes, the point of the FMA was political and it was designed to help republicans.

"Those congressional votes and the passage of similar defensive marriage laws in 38 states express an overwhelming consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage."
- This only proves my point that it was iffy if the amendment would pass the states if it was able to pass congress. In order for the FMA to be enacted all 38 states would need to ratify it. This would be a difficult proposal because the FMA was portrayed as also banning civil union which enjoy majority support even if SSM does not. An amendment is not the same as an act. I suspect that many people who supported the DoMA would not support the FMA.

"And unless action is taken, we can expect more arbitrary court decisions, more litigation, more defiance of the law by local officials, all of which adds to uncertainty. "
- I have no idea why you bolded this text as it only proves my point that it was political. all of these points are debatable and are very politically charged.

"to curb increasing erosions of marriage's traditional structure"
- this too is a highly debatable point. As for the rest of the unquoted paragraph, DoMA can also be viewed to "codify/elucidate" what the right of marriage is. this is in fact how it is usually described...it "defines" what marriage is.
4.14.2007 7:46am
Ken Hahn (mail):
I know this is absurd, but the way I see it, every rape law in the country will become unconstitutional if ERA is approved. And please don't count on the courts to make sense. They okayed McCain-Feingold.
4.14.2007 8:18am
JosephSlater (mail):
Let's assume, arguendo, that the ERA wouldn't make much of a difference in current constitutional jurisprudence and that it's being done for political reasons. That still makes it better than the proposed amendment that would have banned same sex marriage in any state, because the latter would have had a significant and negative impact if passed.

Moreover, it's been the Republican party in the past decade or more that has been the party of the political-gimmick constitutional amendment: anti-flag burning; anti-gay marriage; and, a bit earlier, floating ideas about term limits and balanced budgets (before the Repubs took over Congress and unbalanced the budget). It's not great if the Dems have joined that, but they have a long way to go to catch up.

Finally, Henri, a number of studies, including recent ones, show that after adjusting for the factors you mention, a decent chunk of the difference in wages disappears, but a decent chunk remains.
4.14.2007 12:58pm
Nikki:
Ken - please elucidate?

And Henri, what do you mean by "women are free"? In what way are women free that men are not?
4.14.2007 3:27pm
Henri Le Compte (mail):
Nikki:
I am glad that you asked. When I emphasized that women are free, I meant only that— women are free to make whatever decisions they chose. Some of those decisions will not be to the liking of Nanny State types.

It seemed clear to me, but I guess I was using short-hand for a bigger, libertarian argument. I think some on the political Left are uncomfortable with the notion of "freedom for everyone," because that means freedom to make decisions that the Left finds offensive, stupid, harmful, etc. I mean specifically the freedom to buy and drive big, fat, fuel guzzling SUV's. The freedom to bear arms. The freedom to live in spacious, soul-less suburbs (instead of Manhattan). The freedom to burn Dixie Chick CD's. The freedom to smoke cigarettes, drink tasteless beer, wear cowboy hats, drive pick-ups, and listen to Freebird at sonic boom levels for the millionth time.

I find that people on the political Left are far more willing to use the coercive power of the government to force people to make different choices, rather than the persuasive power of the market. Say, for instance, you don't like SUV's. One approach would be to get the government to institute various regulations that would, in effect, ban SUV's. They could mandate gas mileage standards of 40mpg. Or they could just pass a reg that states "non-commercial vehicles cannot weigh more than x pounds." The political Left favors those sorts of approaches— as evidenced by their affection for things like CAFE standards that would obliterate SUV's. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy Or, say, you don't like the fact that some women chose to stay at home and raise children, rather than work late to become one of the firms partners? Just get the government to force companies to hire more women partners and call it "affirmative action." Instant "social justice."

The libertarian Right favors market solutions, not government fiat. Don't like SUV's? Then make electric cars that are appealing to your average car buyer. Don't like smoking? Then educate people about it's risks, then let them take the responsibility for their own choice. Don't like suburbs? Then make urban areas where families can actually live!

Whew! Aren't you sorry you asked?
4.14.2007 10:26pm