Letters to the Editor: January 10 – 16, 2019
Happy to Finally See Challenger to Saslaw
Thanks to the News-Press for blowing the whistle on Virginia State Senate Democratic leader from the 35th District, Dick Saslaw.
In the front page article in the Jan. 3-9 edition (Saslaw Formally Announces Bid For Re-Election), Nicholas Benton informed us that Mr. Saslaw has not had a primary challenger since 1979.
This is an astonishing bit of news in a democracy. Thirty-nine years without a primary challenger.
How did this happen?
Fortunately there finally is a challenger, Yasmine Taeb. I am confident that this once-in-39-years event will mean balanced coverage of the incumbent and the challenger.
We Need Stronger Leadership on Climate Change
In his announcement for re-election, Dick Saslaw, current State Senator of District 35, said he expects “to see” many bills in this session on solar energy. We need a much stronger position than that from him on climate change. Will he provide robust leadership to remove legislative barriers to wind and solar power?
It is past time to tolerate the barriers to progress and survival erected by Dominion Power. The Falls Church News-Press needs to align its views on effective response to climate change with the loud support it provides to the incumbent. At least consider giving the primary challenger, Yasmine Taeb, a turn at bat.
F.C. Council Should Call for ERA Ratification
Virginia has an historical opportunity to be the 38th and final state necessary to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment during the 2019 legislative session beginning Jan. 8. This milestone would trigger a series of judicial and congressional actions which could set the Amendment on the path to becoming part of the U.S. Constitution. By adopting resolutions in support of ratification of the ERA, local leaders and organizations can show their support for constitutional equality and call on the Virginia General Assembly to do the same.
The Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women. The ERA would guarantee that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or any state on account of sex.” Despite what some opponents claim, the Equal Rights Amendment does not confer special rights. It simply prohibits discrimination.
Eighty-one percent of Virginians want the ERA to be ratified according to a survey conducted by the Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy in December of 2018. In response to growing public support for the ERA, multiple localities around the state have passed resolutions in favor of its ratification or have included resolutions of support in their legislative packages. Local governments calling on the legislature to ratify the ERA include: the Chesapeake City and Radford City Councils in the southeast and southwest as well as Shenandoah and Arlington Counties in the northwest and northeast. These resolutions by local governments in both liberal and conservative parts of the state demonstrate the bipartisan support enjoyed by the ERA. It’s not too late for the Falls Church City Council to add The Little City to the growing list of communities calling for ratification of the ERA.
Joan N. Curry
Saslaw, FCNP Make False Claims About ERA
Senator Saslaw and this paper insist on making false claims about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and Virginia’s supposed ability to be the 38th state whose ratification puts it over the top.
Congress sent ERA to the states in 1972, stipulating seven years for its approval. All Constitutional amendments but one proposed in the last century contained that limit.
Insufficient states ratified ERA by 1979, when Congress extended (unconstitutionally, I’d argue) that deadline another three years. Even on artificial life support, ERA died.
The rationale for time limits on amendments, as upheld by the Supreme Court, is that the supermajorities required to change the Constitution should reflect an overwhelming political consensus at a given historical moment. That does not exist.
The consensus does not exist because the language itself changed. Saslaw calls ERA a “gender” equality amendment. There is no evidence that anybody in 1972 thought ERA was dealing with anything but two sexes, not 50 shades of “gender.”
Back then, when opponents said ERA would forbid sex-differentiated restrooms, locker rooms, and showers, they were called purveyors of fiction; today, we’d be told ERA requires non-sex differentiated facilities to combat “discrimination.” There is simply no evidence that what people thought they were buying in 1972-74 is what they’d get in 2019. That’s why five states rescinded their ratifications.
Saslaw and this paper would cobble together different understandings of what states were approving, force those who changed their minds to be counted as approving, and violate rule of law by changing the explicit conditions everybody agreed to play by at the start.
John M. Grondelski
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