“Democracy Dies In Darkness” And Civic Literacy Dies By Trusting The Washington Post

A few days ago, we were treated to a Post science reporter trying to resuscitate Aristotles’ theory of gravity. Also a few days ago, a Post political reporter “informed” the renowned paper’s erudite and elite readership of the development above.

It’s hard to be more wrong than that news item. First, the Constitution is not “supposed” to include any Amendment that wasn’t ratified within the legal deadline. Thus the archivist isn’t “refusing” to add an unratified Amendment. It can’t be added. It’s not an Amendment!

But wait! There’s more, and it took a conservative law professor to point out the error:

February 2, 2022

Letters Editor

The Washington Post


Re:Amber Phillips, ‘The never-ending fight over whether to include the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution,’ The Washington Post (Jan. 31, 2022, 2:22 PM EST), <https://tinyurl.com/m6n3wfts>.

Dear Letters Editor, 

Ms Phillips wrote that: “Two-thirds of the states have ratified the ERA, which meets the constitutional requirements for adding to the Constitution.” This is not correct. Article V of the United States Constitution, which governs the constitutional amendment process, requires ratification by the legislatures of ¾ of the states. In certain circumstances ratification is possible by the conventions of ¾ of the states, but those circumstances are not applicable to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

In any event, as long as the United States has 50 states, ratification requires action by ¾ or 38 states, and not 2/3 or 34 states.



Seth Barrett Tillman 

Hey, did the professor expect the “reporter” or the Post “editor” to go through all the trouble of actually reading the Constitution before publishing this? How unfair. And how fascinating that none of the politically savvy, legally-trained (D.C. has the highest percentage of lawyers in the nation) Post readers noticed this, or if they did, thought it was worth mentioning to the Washington Post. Maybe they thought they could sneak in that completely superfluous and redundant 28th Amendment by bullying the archivist.

The Washington Post made the correction.

23 thoughts on ““Democracy Dies In Darkness” And Civic Literacy Dies By Trusting The Washington Post

  1. Of course, even though she was wrong, your state became the 38th needed. Issue: the Congressionally adopted and later extended date has expired. House has voted to extend. Senate, not (yet?)

    • Not, as far as I can determine. I’m amazed this anachronism is still being argued over, but anyway, if the final states approved the amendment after the time expired with no further extensions passed, then those ratifications are not official, valid or real. It’s like voting for Biden in December of 2020. It’s after the deadline, and thus isn’t a vote.

  2. I’m sure the correction by The Washington Post won’t satisfy progressive activists, they were successful at pouring gasoline on the fire again and the damage has been done, not it’s time for “progressives” to jump into action. I’m curious how many “progressive” activists have tried to, or will try to, dox “the national archivist” for public canceling due to this story.

  3. “A few days ago, we were treated to a Post science reporter trying to resuscitate Aristotles’ theory of gravity.”

    I think you meant Galileo; Aristotle was a philosopher.

  4. Are we sure this isn’t satire? This is an incredibly whiny and entitled sounding article, not in tone but in content. “Are you sure you can’t make an exception for this deadline? Can I speak to a manager?”

    You want a Constitutional Amendment, maybe try to get a sufficient number of states to ratify it in the same decade. This is not a pointless technicality. Permission to do something can expire if the thing isn’t done in a timely fashion. That’s why some people suggest that laws should expire unless specifically defended, justified, and re-passed.

    I’m also confused as to why this Amendment is considered important (and why I haven’t been hearing about it if it is). I was under the impression that although the Fourteenth Amendment was not originally interpreted to grant full equal rights to female humans, it has since been read as applying to all people. What do they expect to accomplish with this? A symbolic gesture? A foundation for tedious regulations to do what should be done with culture?

      • Aye, now I’m coming up with comedy lines in my head.

        “I found this Amendment ratification from my state under my couch. It has an expiration date that’s before I was born. Can I still turn it in?”

        You’d think at some point within all that time they’d have realized they needed to start the process over. It’s depressing and pathetic that they think that whining about reasonable, publicly available rules instead of putting any effort into following those rules will make them more sympathetic. It’s scary that they might be right.

  5. My question is why is such an amendment necessary given that in 2022 females enjoy the same rights as males if not more rights by virtue of legislated mandates such as Title 9 and affirmative action.

    If such an amendment were passed I would think all those perquisites of being female would disappear, such as being the primary care givers of children, or being seen as victims in domestic violence cases. It seems to me that females would be obligated to the same responsibilities as their male counterparts including the obligation for military service during times of war.

  6. I suppose ratifying the ERA now could have the beneficial effect of prohibiting any States from subsequently revoking the right to vote from women. I don’t see that happening, but you never know. It’s not impossible.

    Of course, if they restarted the process anew for the ERA, if would have to be hopelessly complicated to get the support of the left. After all, we have so many more genders now!


    • …and immediately after I click Post Comment, another thought occurs to me:

      I could envision a movement in some wacky-left State to try to revoke the right to vote from men.

      ERA NOW!


  7. The >only way they have forward with the ERA is to try and pretend that the ratification deadline somehow doesn’t exist.

    Number one, if they started over they would have to get a 2/3 majority in each house of Congress (unless my memory has been zapped by the AUC). Someone brought up what it might take for today’s Progressives to vote for an ERA — what about the Republicans? Is it even possible to craft an amendment that would get enough support from the whole Congress to pass?

    Second, they don’t want to send it forth anew to the states because there are probably a number of states who might have ratified it originally who either have tried to withdraw ratification (another point conveniently forgotten) or who simply would not vote to ratify today. Again you have the craft something basically that could be ratified by the legislatures of both New York and Florida, of both California and Texas.

    It’s no wonder supporters don’t want to start this from scratch.

    If Congress had not included a deadline, we could have this conversation (and then the Supreme Court might have to decide whether a state can withdraw its ratification). I think it is settled that, absent a deadline in the actual amendment language, time is not an issue. Remember the Congressional pay amendment from the original Bill of Rights in the 18th century that was finally ratified after two centuries.

    But Congress did and we can’t.

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