This Note proceeds in three Parts. Part One chronicles the history of the Equal Rights Amendment, from the original attempt at passage through the various reiterations thereafter. Part Two describes the legal background, including constitutional and legislative protection against discrimination on the basis of sex. Part Three of this Note then demonstrates that a faithful understanding of the existing constitutional and legislative protections reveals inherent weaknesses. Specifically, the original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment did not contemplate protection from sex-based discrimination, and the word “sex” as a prohibited basis for discrimination in Title VII was added as a last-minute attempt by southern lawmakers to kill the legislation. These sources of law provide a shaky and wholly inadequate foundation for a norm as critical as sex equality. As the makeup of the Supreme Court shifts, judicially engrafted protections are susceptible to attack, and legislation can always be repealed. The solution, therefore, to ensuring equality of the sexes in a thoughtful and long-lasting manner—and in a manner that gives weight to the importance of the principle of equality— is through the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.



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