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Apparently in a furtive effort to save the Postal Service, they have removed the restriction on living persons being on postage stamps.  I suppose I should protest – more opportunity for nonsense if we remove the ban:  Kim and Khloe on a stamp in all their curvy glory?  (On second thought, that might indeed save the USPS but the crowd of preteen and teenage boys might overwhelm the ability of the post offices to serve!)  Of course Kim and Khloe might be preferable to the notorious communist Paul Robeson being placed on a postage stamp! 

So I hereby suggest we nominate the great heroine of the social conservative movement:  Phyllis Schlafly.

When I was a teenager, it looked like the ERA would become the law of the land.  Do you remember, readers who are close to my age:

bullet Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
bullet Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
bullet Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Need I say more how pernicious that language would have been in our Constitution?  Social Engineering by liberals and courts would have been the law of the land.  It certainly looked bad for a while:

The Equal Rights Amendment passed the U.S. Senate and then the House of Representatives, and on March 22, 1972, the proposed 27th Amendment to the Constitution was sent to the states for ratification. But as it had done for every amendment since the 18th (Prohibition), with the exception of the 19th Amendment, Congress placed a seven-year deadline on the ratification process. This time limit was placed not in the words of the ERA itself, but in the proposing clause.

 Like the 19th Amendment before it, the ERA barreled out of Congress, getting 22 of the necessary 38 state ratifications in the first year. But the pace slowed as opposition began to organize – only eight ratifications in 1973, three in 1974, one in 1975, and none in 1976.

But one ordinary American from Alton, Illinois stood up and said no.  Phyllis Schlafly is ironically honored by her foes here at a pro-ERA website:

Arguments by ERA opponents such as Phyllis Schlafly, right-wing leader of the Eagle Forum/STOP ERA, played on the same fears that had generated female opposition to woman suffrage. Anti-ERA organizers claimed that the ERA would deny woman’s right to be supported by her husband, privacy rights would be overturned, women would be sent into combat, and abortion rights and homosexual marriages would be upheld. Opponents surfaced from other traditional sectors as well. States’-rights advocates said the ERA was a federal power grab, and business interests such as the insurance industry opposed a measure they believed would cost them money. Opposition to the ERA was also organized by fundamentalist religious groups.

Is there much question Schlafly was right?  The courts have done much of that without the ERA.  Schlafly, an attorney by the way, organized STOP ERA and eventually Eagle Forum.  She started with the Illinois legislature, successfully preventing it from ever ratifying the amendment.  The ERA supporters turned to deviousness and sneaky tactics:

Hopes for victory continued to dim as other states postponed consideration or defeated ratification bills. Illinois changed its rules to require a three-fifths majority to ratify an amendment, thereby ensuring that their repeated simple majority votes in favor of the ERA did not count. Other states proposed or passed rescission bills, despite legal precedent that states do not have the power to retract a ratification.

As the 1979 deadline approached, some pro-ERA groups, like the League of Women Voters, wanted to retain the eleventh-hour pressure as a political strategy. But many ERA advocates appealed to Congress for an indefinite extension of the time limit, and in July 1978, NOW coordinated a successful march of 100,000 supporters in Washington, DC. Bowing to public pressure, Congress granted an extension until June 30, 1982.

Thank the Lord it did not work – for Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 (I suggest Schlafly helped indirectly by mobilizing social conservatives and evangelicals to political action which led to supporting Reagan) and there have been no more ratifications. Schlafly has worked hard to protect US sovereignty and other social conservative goals.  Here‘s Eagle Forum’s website.  And just now, Schlafly is mobilizing forces to prevent her home state from passing the ERA this year!

I would when the time comes formally nominate Schlafly for the honor of being one of the first living persons on an American postage stamp.  She clearly deserves it.  I’ll have to get a sheet of her stamps!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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