2022 ERA Symposium

The 2022 symposium on “The Equal Rights Amendment: A New Guarantee of Sex Equality in the U.S. Constitution” was held virtually on March 3rd and 4th, 2022. 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Virginia, and the 50th anniversary of Reed v. Reed, two of the most significant sex-based equality cases to reach the Supreme Court. This symposium examined what a modern vision of sex/gender equality could embody and how might that vision be realized through a constitutional Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).  We explored how existing equality protections under the 14th Amendment would differ from the protections under an ERA, what higher standard of protection against sex discrimination could the ERA secure, what an anti-subordination approach to equality more generally might look like, and how the ERA could strengthen anti-discrimination protections for other protected classes. Through an intersectional lens, we analyzed the ERA’s potential in deploying dynamic strategies to advance gender equality norms. 

This symposium was organized by Columbia Law School's ERA Project and the Journal of Gender and Law. You can watch video recordings of all sessions on YouTube here.

Click on the links below to download symposium materials:



10:45am - 11:00 am ET | Dean's Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Gillian Lester, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Katherine Franke, James L. Dohr Professor of Law and Faculty Director, ERA Project, Columbia Law School
  • Ting Ting Cheng, Director, ERA Project, Columbia Law School

11:00am - 1:00pm ET | Session 1: The Meaning of a 21st Century ERA

This panel will set the stage for the history and revitalization of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), going in depth into the constitutional requirements for the amendment ratification process, legal and political hurdles, and the current challenges to its implementation. What are the paths forward? What does an inclusive and feminist ERA look like, what would it mean, and why do we need it?

  • Dave Pozen, Vice Dean for Intellectual Life and Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Julie Suk, Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
  • Jennifer McClellan, Virtginia State Senator
  • Michelle Kallen, Former Virginia Solicitor General
  • Moderator: Ting Ting Cheng, Director, ERA Project, Columbia Law School

1:30pm - 3:30pm ET | Session 2: ERA and the 14th Amendment’s Gender Equality Jurisprudence - From Reed v. Reed to U.S. v. Virginia and Beyond

This panel will discuss the foundational work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a litigator and Supreme Court Justice in building the groundwork for gender equality in the Constitution, and what commentators have referred to as the de facto ERA. This panel will analyze and critique the 14th Amendment’s formal equality model and tiers of scrutiny, and its deficiencies in addressing inequality today. Speakers will also explore what a substantive equality model would look like in contrast.

  • Cary Franklin, McDonald/Wright Chair of Law and Faculty Director, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
  • Kendall Thomas, Nash Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Victoria Nourse, Ralph Whitworth Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School
  • Moderator: Olatunde Johnson, Jerome B. Sherman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

DAY 2: FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2022

10:00am - 12:00pm ET | Session 3: ERA and Abortion - Equality Arguments for Reproductive Rights

This panel will explore access to abortion as an equality right that includes pregnant people of various gender identities. In anticipation of a post-Roe landscape and as the Supreme Court deliberates the parameters of reproductive justice in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, this panel will ground the right to abortion in equality principles found in the 14th Amendment and promised in the Equal Rights Amendment.

  • Reva Siegel, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  • Serena Mayeri, Professor of Law and History, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
  • Moderator: Katherine Franke, James L. Dohr Professor of Law and Faculty Director, ERA Project, Columbia Law School

1:30pm - 3:30pm ET | Session 4: Gender Justice and the ERA in Practice

This panel will investigate how explicit gender protection in the Constitution could transform federal laws and different areas of the law in practice to address the pressing needs of today, such as abortion access, anti-pregnancy discrimination, reproductive health access, maternal mortality, medical coverage, paid leave, childcare infrastructure and the care economy.

  • Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Director, Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, UC Irvine Law
  • Khiara M. Bridges, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley
  • Kate Andrias, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Jody Heymann, Distinguished Professor and Founding Director, WORLD Policy Analysis Center, UCLA
  • Moderator: Candace Bond-Theriault, Director, Racial Justice Policy and Strategy, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Columbia Law School

3:30pm - 4:00pm ET | Keynote Address and Closing Remarks

  • Keynote Speaker: Letitia James, Attorney General, State of New York
  • Katherine Franke, James L. Dohr Professor of Law and Faculty Director, ERA Project, Columbia Law School
  • Ting Ting Cheng, Director, ERA Project, Columbia Law School