US asks court to block ruling on ERA extension

The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court Thursday to find that a federal judge acted prematurely in ruling that Congress has no power to extend a deadline for approving the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

The department appealed a ruling that struck down extension of the deadline for ratifying the amendment and found that states had the right to rescind their approval.

The government suggested the high court might consider vacating that ruling, given by US District Judge Marion Callister in Boise, Idaho.

The ERA was originally proposed by Congress in 1972 and was given until March 22, 1979, to be ratified by 38 states. Congress subsequently extended the ratification deadline to June 30, 1982. So far, 35 of the necessary 38 states have ratified the amendment, but 5 states have voted to rescind their ratification.

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