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Without PrecedentThe Life of Susie Marshall Sharp$
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Anna R. Hayes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832141

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807887813_hayes

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Equal Rights Amendment

Equal Rights Amendment

(p.389) Chapter 18 Equal Rights Amendment
Without Precedent

Anna R. Hayes

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on Justice Sharp's opposition to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution in North Carolina—her most famous, least understood, and most resented interference in matters of public policy. Judge Sharp's opposition, largely due to the critical timing of the vote in North Carolina, had a major impact on the failure of the amendment nationally. The ERA struggle spanned roughly twelve years, from 1970 to 1982, encompassing the last nine years of Justice Sharp's service on the North Carolina Supreme Court, four as chief justice, and continuing past her 1979 retirement. First introduced in Congress in 1923, three years after women achieved the right to vote, the ERA had languished for decades. It boiled to the surface in the late 1960s, and the recently formed National Organization for Women (NOW) vowed to fight for its ratification.

Keywords:   Justice Sharp, Equal Rights Amendment, ERA, U.S. Constitution, public policy, NOW

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