TO: Honorable Karen Fann, President of the Senate
Honorable Rusty Bowers, Speaker of the House
Arizona State Capitol
1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
FROM: The Undersigned Past Presidents of the State Bar of Arizona
RE: The Equal Rights Amendment
DATE: February 25, 2019
Dear President and Speaker,
We write on behalf of former Presidents of the State Bar of Arizona. We ask the Arizona legislature to become the one missing state needed to ratify and secure Constitutional status for the Equal Rights Amendment. If ratified by our legislature, the ERA would finally become part of the Constitution and confirm that women need and merit the protection afforded under our nation’s highest law, a Constitutional guarantee that their rights to equality and fairness are no longer subject to the vicissitudes of state and federal lawmakers.
Six significant events prompt our request. First, SCR1006 and SCR1009, that seek ERA ratification, have been introduced with bipartisan support and 17 signatures in the Arizona Senate, while HCR2030 has been introduced in the House, also with bipartisan support and 33 signatures. Second, we are on the eve of the 100th Anniversary of suffrage, a date that certainly underscores both how far we have come in acknowledging women’s equality and how far we still have to go. Third, the unrelenting hostility and denigration of women in the body politic, especially over the last few years, emphasizes the need to permanently protect women’s right to equal opportunity and treatment in every aspect of this country’s fabric—political, economic, social and cultural. Fourth, from the beginning, and in spite of well-financed campaigns against it, the ERA has enjoyed wide-spread, majority support among U.S. voters; one poll concludes that 91% of Republicans, 92% of Independents, and 98% of Democrats support the Amendment. It is important to note that the Mormon Church now takes a neutral position on the Amendment. Fifth, the Supreme Court itself tells us that the ERA is the only lasting protection against gender discrimination. As recently as 2011, Justice Scalia said that the Constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sex; he said that if citizens wanted that equality, they would have to ratify the ERA. Last, Arizona is historically a maverick state; what could celebrate that character more than being the pivotal vote in an historic, but long overdue, acknowledgement of the human rights of all of our citizens.
We are aware that claims have been made that the ERA would legalize all abortion. This is categorically false. Abortion is already a constitutional right under Roe v. Wade and the battle over that right will continue. The ERA applies only to federal and state actions and will have no impact on churches or religious doctrine or how families choose to organize their lives in the privacy of their own home.
The existing statutory protections prohibiting discrimination against women will not be affected because of the ERA. In fact, they will be strengthened because women will become a “protected class” under constitutional analysis, requiring that discrimination against them be given the most thorough scrutiny. Without the ERA, women will continue to have the responsibilities and burdens of citizenship (pay taxes, serve on juries, vote) but without the full protection that the Constitution affords. Adoption of the ERA is not a political issue – it is a purely Constitutional matter.
Arizona needs to pass the ERA to honor those in the past who have fought for equality so long, to honor those in the future who will benefit from a fair opportunity, and to honor our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and colleagues who struggle today because of the inequalities affecting their status as citizens since the founding of the Republic. We hope that with your help Arizona will have the exceptional honor of becoming the 38th state to ratify the ERA.
SIGNERS ALPHABETICAL BY NAME: SIGNERS BY THE YEAR THEY WERE STATE BAR PRESIDENT
Fritz Aspey (1990-1991) Robert Browder (1970-1971)
Roxana Bacon (1991-1992) Stanley Feldman (1974-1975)
Alan Bayham (2010-2011) Mark Harrison (1975-1976)
Don Bivens (1998-1999) Tom Slutes (1979-1980)
Robert Browder (1970-1971) Tom Zlaket (1988-1989)
Ernest Calderon (2002-2003) Fritz Aspey (1990-1991)
Amelia Craig Cramer (2012-2013) Roxana Bacon (1991-1992)
Whitney Cunningham (2013-2014) Robert Schmitt (1992-1993)
Stanley Feldman (1974-1975) Sarah Simmons (1993-1994)
Mark Harrison (1975-1976) Michael Murphy (1994-1995)
Lisa Loo (2016-2017) Michael Kimerer (1995-1996)
Michael Kimerer (1995-1996) Michael Piccarreta (1996-1997)
Michael Murphy (1994-1995) Bob Van Wyck (1997-1998)
Ed Novak (2008-2009) Don Bivens (1998-1999)
Helen Perry Grimwood (2005-2006) Ernest Calderon (2002-2003)
Michael Piccarreta (1996-1997) Pam Treadwell-Rubin (2003-2004)
Robert Schmitt (1992-1993) Charles Wirken (2004-2005)
Sarah Simmons (1993-1994) Helen Perry Grimwood (2005-2006)
Tom Slutes (1979-1980) Ed Novak (2008-2009)
Geoffrey Trachtenberg (2015-2016) Alan Bayham (2010-2011)
Pam Treadwell-Rubin (2003-2004) Amelia Craig Cramer (2012-2013)
Bob Van Wyck (1997-1998) Whitney Cunningham (2013-2014)
Charles Wirken (2004-2005) Geoffrey Trachtenberg (2015-2016)
Tom Zlaket (1988-1989) Lisa Loo (2016-2017)
TO: Members of the Arizona State Legislature
FROM: Retired Arizona Judges
DATE: March 6, 2019
RE: Equal Rights Amendment
As former/retired judges in Arizona, we would like to make some things clear regarding the Equal Rights Amendment that has been introduced into the Arizona legislature seeking to have Arizona be the 38th state to ratify the ERA.
The existence of the “timeline” put into the preamble of the ERA in 1973 and then updated in 1979 does not make the amendment “illegal” nor mean that it has passed any timeline. Congress has sole authority to set any deadline and the ERA “deadline” has already been changed once in 1978. Bills have been introduced in Congress (HJ53 and SJ Res 5) to extend the deadline again. The 27th Amendment was ratified 203 years after it was first introduced. No amendment had a deadline until the 18th but the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote had no deadline. The Congressional Research Service said in 2013 and 2018 that the deadline does not invalidate contemporary ERA ratifications.
While the 14th Amendment contains clauses to protect all citizens not until 1971, (Reed v. Reed) did the Supreme Court rule that women were covered under that amendment. The Supreme Court has never held that the 14th Amendment gave women Constitutional protection. In fact, Supreme Court Justice Scalia said in 2011 that the 14th Amendment does not cover women. “Certainly, the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't.”
Sex is currently not a protected class so that discrimination based on sex would be scrutinized at the highest level. The Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said in U.S. v. Virginia in 1996 that, “The heightened review standard our precedent establishes does not make sex a proscribed classification.” Very clearly, women are not protected under the Constitution.
Sex is a “protected class” under some statutes but a statute is not a constitutional guarantee. The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that only three “protected classes,” color, race, and national origin, exist under the 14th Amendment. Religion is protected under the 5th Amendment due process clause and the 1st Amendment. If the Equal Rights Amendment passed, judges would be required to scrutinize sex discrimination cases under “strict scrutiny.”
The Equal Rights Amendment does not impact the constitutionality of abortion. Abortion is already a constitutional right under Roe v. Wade that was decided on privacy grounds not equality of rights. To make such an important decision and granting equality of rights to 51% of our population, over 161 million women and children, not only legislators but the public should have accurate information about the impact of their decisions.
RETIRED JUDGES SIGNED ONTO THE LETTER:
Mark Aceto, Judge (ret)
Linda Akers, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge (ret)
Louis A. Araneta, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge (ret)
A Craig Blakey II, Judge (ret)
Retired Judge Bernard J. Dougherty, Maricopa County Superior Court
Judge John Foreman (retired), Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County
Stephen A. Gerst, Judge (ret)
Hon. Robert Gottsfield (ret)
Hon. Joseph B. Heilman, Retired, Superior Court Judge, Maricopa County
Barbara M. Jarrett, Retired, Superior Court Judge for Maricopa County
Judge Steven d. Sheldon, (ret)
Hon. David M. Talamante (retired)
Judge Janna L. Vanderpool (retired)
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"The U.S. Supreme Court discriminates by using a lower standard of review to decide sex discrimination cases than it does for discrimination cases based race, religion, or national origin. Only the Equal Rights Amendment can guarantee that sex will be considered a suspect classification entitled to the same strict scrutiny."