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AMEND THE CONSTITUTION RELATIVE TO EQUAL

RIGHTS FOR MEN AND WOMEN

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 1948

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE No. 1 OF THE
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,

Washington, D.O. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a. m., in the committee room of the House Committee on the Judiciary, Hon. Chauncey W. Reed, chairman of the subcommittee, presiding.

Present: Hon. Chauncey W. Reed (chairman of the subcommittee), Hon. John Jennings, Jr., Hon. E. Wallace Chadwick, Hon. Frank L. Chelf, and Hon. Ed. Gossett.

Mr. REED (chairman of the subcommittee). The committee will please be in order.

We have scheduled today before this subcommittee consideration of the following House joint resolutions pertaining to the so-called equalrights amendment:

[H. J. Res. 49, 80th Cong., 1st sess. ] JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States

relative to equal rights for men and women

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States :

"ARTICLE "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

"Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

"This amendment shall take effect three years after the date of ratification."

[H. J. Res. 62, 80th Cong., 1st sess. ] JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an equal-rights amendment to the Constitution

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This amendment shall take effect three years after being ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.

[H. J. Res. 85, 80th Cong., 1st sess.)

JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an equal-rights amendment to the Constitution

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This amendment shall take effect three years after being ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.

(H. J. Res. 86, 80th Cong., 1st sess.) JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an equal-rights amendment to the Constitution Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That equality of rights under the law shall not. be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This amendment shall take effect three years after being ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.

[H. J. Res, 89, 80th Cong., 1st sess.) JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an equal-rights amendment to the Constitution Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That equality of rights under the law shall not: be denied or abridged by the United Stat or by any State on account of sex. Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This amendment shall take effect three years after being ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.

[H. J. Res. 104, 80th Cong., 1st sess.) JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an equal-rights amendment to the Constitution Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This amendment shall take effect three years after being ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.

(H. J. Res. 110, 80th Cong., 1st sess. ] JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States

relative to equal rights for men and women Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatires of the United States of America in Congress assembled (tuo-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States :

"ARTICLE“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

"Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

"This amendment shall take effect three years after the date of ratification."

Mr. REED. The equal-rights amendment has been before this committee and before both Houses of Congress for several years. To my knowledge, the amendment has never at one session of Congress been before both Houses of Congress.

In the 12 years that I have been a member of the Committee on the Judiciary, there has been some legislation of this kind proposed before our committee. We now have before the committee several resolutions pertaining to this subject. We also have several resolutions proposing to establish a commission on the legal status of women.

I think in order to facilitate matters, the committee would prefer to hear today the proponents of the various bills proposing the constitutional amendment commonly known as the equal-rights amendment. On Friday of this week, the day after tomorrow, the committee will be pleased to hear the opponents of this measure and the proponents of the legal status bill.

I believe that the first time that this bill or a similar bill was before the Congress of the United States, or at least before this committee, was in the Sixty-eighth Congress at which time hearings were held by the committee, the Committee on the Judiciary. Since that time, hearings have been held at various times and in the Seventy-eighth Congress, the so-called equal-rights amendment was changed from its original form to its present form.

In its original form, it provided that men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and at every place subject to its jurisdiction. Since that time, the text of the so-called amendment, proposed amendment, has been changed and now provides equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.

I have not examined all of the resolutions that are before the committee, but I assume that most of them are in that form. I note that the sponsor of one of the resolutions, who is a member of this committee and a Member of Congress, is present and I am very happy at this time to recognize our esteemed colleague from Arkansas, Mr. Cravens.

STATEMENT OF HON. FADJO CRAVENS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ARKANSAS

Mr. CRAVENS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I think perhaps the best way, the most concise way to submit the proponents' views of this measure would be to read a report which I had the honor to submit to the Congress at the direction of this committee on July 12, 1945.

At that time, the distinguished chairman of the subcommittee now sitting and myself served together on subcommittee No. 2 of the Judiciary Committee as constituted prior to the Reorganization Act. This committee, after extensive hearings, after most careful consideration, in which the chairman of this subcommittee participated, re-ported this bill favorably to the House. Unfortunately, it was impossible to get any action in the House at that time.

With the indulgence of the committee and with the committee's permission, I would like to read, as I believe the most effective way of presenting briefly the views that the committee had in the last Congress, and this subcommittee as then constituted had, with reference to this proposal. This report was dated July 12, 1945:

The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the joint resolution, H. J. 49— that was the number at that timeproposing an equal-rights amendment to the Constitution, after consideration, report the same favorably to the House with the recommendation that it do pass.

It is proposed to amend the Constitution of the United States by submitting to the States for ratification by three-fourths of the legislatures thereof the following:

"That equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress and tho several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdiction, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

“This amendment shall take effect three years after the date of ratification."

I would like to return to that last section later, after I have completed this further reading of this report.

Identical or substantially similar resolutions were offered by nine other Members of the House of Representatives. All the proposals were carefully studied by a subcommittee, which also gave full consideration to the record of public hearings held previously before the Committee on the Judiciary, Sixty-eighth Congress, House Joint Resolution 197, March 3, 1932. On February 21, 1945, it was determined that no additional oral hearings were necessary, but it was agreed to accept, for a limited time, observations, statements, or suggestions, in writing from any person, group, or organization, either for or against the proposal. Numerous communications were received, all of which were given careful consideration by the subcommittee. The subcommittee thereupon made a unanimous favorable recommendation to the full committee with respect to House Joint Resolution 49.

Subsequently the Judiciary Committee favorably reported the equal-rights amendment in this form to the House of Representatives. I now quote from our committee report:

A similar or substantially similar proposal as that set forth in House Joint Resolution 49 was first introduced in 1923, and has been reintroduced in each Congress since that time. In the Seventy-eighth Congress a subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary made a unanimous favorable report to the fuli committee, but the latter did not at that time take favorable action.

The committee directs attention to the fact that the platforms adopted by both major political parties included in their 1944 platform recommendations in support of a so-called equal-rights amendment as follows:

Perhaps, in view of the change in political situation, I should read the Republican platform first now. Here is the Republican platform. “We favor submission by Congress to the States of an amendment to the Constitution providing for equal rights for men and women.”

The Democratic platform contained the following: “We recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment on equal rights for women.”

The committee definitely feels that the laws of many States and of the United States, under the guise of protecting the safety and welfare of the female sex, have in fact discriminated against such sex in various economic fields of activity or have entirely excluded females from participation in economic fields in which they are as equally proficient as men and in which they can serve without injury to their health or the public interest. The arduous and efficient service rendered by women both in the armed services and in industry during the present war

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