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Del. Ken Plum: Politics and Policies in 2019

by Del. Ken Plum January 3, 2019 at 12:00 pm 53 Comments

This is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Four hundred years ago colonists representing each of the 20 or so plantations in Virginia met together in the church at Jamestown Island to take care of the business of the new colony. The upcoming meeting of the General Assembly which will convene in the Jefferson-designed Capitol in Richmond at noon on Jan. 9 is likely to be historic as well with the enormity of the issues before it. These issues will be taken up in view of the election in November of this year when all members of the House of Delegates and State Senate will be on the ballot.

Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment illustrates what I mean. For 40 years, the Virginia General Assembly has refused to pass a resolution supporting the ERA. This year is different in that Virginia would be the 38th state to ratify the amendment and barring court challenges would be the final state needed for making the ERA a part of the Constitution. Some public opinion polls show popular support of the amendment as high as 80 percent, and supporters of the amendment have never been better organized. A large demonstration of supporters has been planned for the opening day of the session.

A recent story posted on www.fauquier.com about three delegates who spoke before the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce about the issues in the upcoming session illustrates the challenges facing the legislature. The story reported the ERA score as “one for, one against, and one undecided.” The one against is Del. Mark Cole who chairs the Privileges and Elections Committee to which the bill has been assigned and which has defeated or refused to hear the resolution in past legislative sessions. There is little surprise that Cole, who is one of the most conservative members of the House, would continue his opposition. Whether he can refuse to have the resolution taken up to keep vulnerable delegates from having to vote on it will be part of the drama of the session.

Supporting passage of the ERA is Del. Elizabeth Guzman who is in her first term and who was part of the defeat of 15 Republicans in the last election. She has shown herself to be a progressive and effective leader who will not allow opponents a way to duck the issue.

Attempting to stand in the middle as undecided is Del. Michael Webert who in the past would have been counted as an opponent. The report says, “he needs to study the proposed ratifying legislation.” More likely is that he needs to study the changing demographics of his district to see if he could be re-elected after voting against the ERA. Webert also has a record of helping defeat commonsense bills to prevent gun violence as part of a subcommittee that defeats all such bills. He will need to explain his votes to the new constituents in his changing district.

All 140 members of the legislature will be measuring their re-election prospects after voting on the ERA. Constituents need to continue to let legislators know their support of the ERA. As for me, I will be supporting the ERA as I always have in the past.

File photo

  • Mike M

    The ERA is less relevant now than it was when it failed in the 1970s. Why doesn’t Ken explain what situations would be righted by an ERA? Everything it contains is already covered. The Dems are just playing divisive politics with the Constitution. Look around. Have they really nothing better to do?

    • 100yearsinReston

      “The ERA is less relevant now than it was when it failed in the 1970s,” says a man who knows the struggles woman have faced and continue to face.

      • 30yearsinreston

        Misogynist !
        For shame

        • 100yearsinReston

          Says the guy who doesn’t support equal rights?

          • Scott

            You have not explained how the ERA would advance the goal of “equal” rights for all citizens.

          • 100yearsinReston

            Wrong. I have done so twice now. I can lead you to water, but I can’t make you drink.

          • Scott

            I’ve reread everything you typed and there are ZERO examples listed of how the ERA would change anything in support of the female experience in the US.
            And since you are unwilling or unable to explain why the court cases you list were examples of wrongs against women that the ERA would fix, let me take a stab in analyzing.

            US vs Morrison – This case has nothing to do with a person’s sex. This was a constitutional question of Federal jurisdiction under the constitution. The decision states that PARTS of the “Violence against Women Act of 1994” misapplied the Commerce Clause and therefore are not within the FEDERAL government’s ability to enforce. It in no way violated equality concerns or codified discrimination as legal.

            Craig vs Boren – This 1976 decision said that the state of Oklahoma couldn’t make a law that would allow the sale of beer to women age 18+, but restrict males until age 21. The decision struck down the law and said that for any such law to be valid, a state “must must prove the existence of specific important governmental objectives, and the law must be substantially related to the achievement of those objectives.”

            In Summary CvsB said that laws that discriminate based on sex are unconstitutional unless there are very unusual circumstances that create a compelling government interest and the burden is on the state to prove the law is necessary and effective to achieve that objective.

            Sorry, but you are mistaken in citing these cases. The ERA would have no affect on Morrison and if it would have any affect on Craig, it would be extremely narrow. If anything, it might invalidate part or all of the Violence Against Women Act if it was determined that it applied law differently to men than it does to women. Think about that.

            ERA = waste of time based on the “evidence” you have(n’t) provided. I’m for equality and equal protection so please feel free to change my mind with fact based arguments supported by evidence and logic.

          • 100yearsinReston

            I pointed you to the determinations that say everything about why the ERA is needed. Specifically:

            You didn’t read anything on US v. Morrison as it has everything to sex. Specifically the Court responded that precedents such as the Civil Rights Cases limit the manner in which Congress may remedy discrimination. If that doesn’t sound like a constitutional need for the ERA, I don’t know what is.

            Craig v. Boren created the category of “intermediate” scrutiny, which is applied to sex- and gender-based claims. Essentially, this means the government needs a less convincing reason to enact a law that discriminates based on sex than it does to enact one that discriminates based on race, religion, or national origin.

          • Scott

            There you go. Thank you for actually beginning to state the issue you feel the ERA would remedy.

            But seriously, Morrison is about the application of the Commerce Clause, not vaginas. It’s about Federal vs State jurisdiction in a very narrow application. The Constitution specifically exists to limit the Federal Govt’s power over the States. That women are apparently negatively impacted in this instance is irrelevant to the larger question and this decision. And again..the 14th amendment already addresses equal protection (for any reason, including sex)

            Craig, rightfully leaves open the idea that there could be a compelling government interest that would require a law that targets one sex vs the other (male or female as craig was about discrimination against males) but buts the burden on the govt to show that the interest is compelling and the law is related to achieving it. Closing that possibility is about as smart as mandatory minimum sentences that don’t allow a judge any ability to take context and extenuating circumstances into account.

          • 100yearsinReston

            I mean, I said this from the beginning, but you needed it spelled out for you…

            You are trying to pigeon hole these decisions into boxes, but split decision are seldom black and white. There are multitudes of layers on which precedent setting Constitutional law decisions, such as these, exist. And you are willfully ignoring the parts of these decisions that show a need for the ERA.

            Let’s put it this way: you’ve read the text of the ERA. It is pretty simple, just a few lines. The lines themselves are not controversial. Pretty much something that everyone would agree with taken on their own. Then why oppose it? There are clearly some decisions that at least you and I, let alone legal scholars, admit have some grey area that the ERA would set straight. There is literally no reason to oppose it.

            But I’ll do you one better, Scott. Since your name is Scott, I’ll assume you are a man. I assume you had to register for the Selective Service Act when you turned 18. Did your wife? Did your sister? How is that equal? Up until a 2013 woman could not serve in combat roles in the US Military. This was not a change in law, but a change in policy. The policy can change back. Woman who want to fight in combat roles (and essentially propel their military careers like it does for men), would be be forced to go back to support roles. I reiterate, there is no legal protection for woman, who have the same enlistment criteria as men by the way, to participate in the military like a man would. This is the less glamorous side of the need for the ERA, but it still exists.

      • Scott

        Ooh..burn! Please help me underatund how the ERA would right the struggles women continue to face.

        • 100yearsinReston

          See US vs Morrison. See Craig vs. Boren. There is no legal basis for woman’s rights.

          • Scott

            There is also no legal basis for men’s rights. There is equal protection under the law. I will ask once again. Please explain how the era would end the struggles that women continue to face.

          • 100yearsinReston

            The Constitution was literally written by a group of men. Their rights are inumerated implicitedly. Hence why men were always allowed to vote, but woman’s sufferage needed amendment.

          • Scott

            It it the first amemdemtn and free speech, the 2nd amwndmwnt and right to bear arms, or the 4th amendment and the prevention of illegal search and seizure that isn’t protected by the Constitution for women?
            I mean, if you have no idea what the ERA is or does and you just blindly support it out of emotion, just say it.

          • 100yearsinReston

            I don’t have blind support. I have literally cited two precedent setting SCOTUS cases in other replies to this article where the courts ruled against woman on Constitutional rights grounds.

          • Scott

            you have not bothered to explain why women need “special” rights, how the Constitution, as applied today, treats women differently than men, or how the ERA would address them. Not a single bullet. If you are so up on SCOTUS cases, please take 1 minute to explain for us laypeople how the Constitution, in these cases, discriminated against women based on their gender.

          • 100yearsinReston

            I am not sure how many times you want me to post them over and over again. US vs Morrison and Craig vs. Boren. It’s as simple as reading the justices opinions. I can’t say it any better than them.

          • Scott

            It is not my job to research your opinion. You came on this board and started whining about the ERA and sexism, but have not cited one…ONE…example of how the constitution discriminates against women or how the ERA would impact it. I have stated a very clear opinion, listed the text of the ERA and the text of the 14th amendment in support of that opinion. If you wish to have a debate, I suggest you do the same.

          • 100yearsinReston

            No, but it is your job to be an informed citizen. Burying your head in the sand is the opposite of that. And you are right: I didn’t cite one example. I cited two examples. Just because a citation doesn’t fit your world view, doesn’t make it not exist.

          • Scott

            Since you have been unwilling (or are unable) to explain why the ERA is essential, let me explain why I believe it is not.
            The text of the ERA says:
            “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
            As far as I’m aware, it is already illegal to deny rights to anyone based on their sex. I doubt you can name one Federal or state law that denies 51% of the population any rights based on their chromosomes.
            In the Constitution itself, the 14th Amendment includes the Equal Protection Clause that says, “nor shall any State […] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.
            I’m not a linguist, but I think women are covered under “any person.” It would appear that the ERA is redundant, unnecessary, and a waste of time.

          • 100yearsinReston

            Jesus, how many times do I need to provide sources. I already gave you two recent SCOTUS cases showing the need: US vs Morrison and Craig vs. Boren. But no, I am sure you are a Constitutional scholar and know better than the Supreme Court justices. You (wrongly) state that I have no explained ERA is needed, but the correct answer is that you just ignore sources and references that I provide. Seems like the problem here lies with you.

          • Scott

            Once. Just once. No offense, but you referenced two SCOTUS cases and have whined. That is not exactly a solid argument. The ERA says 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.”
            This is already not legal. Please explain why I’m wrong.

          • 100yearsinReston

            Twice. Once today and once last week. They are both there. Scroll up. I mean, I can’t explain both the ERA AND how websites work to you. You’ve already proven to me that you have no interest learning about this topic, so why bother going back and forth. I’d already provided you citations that you have ignored. Nothing I do can satisfy you because you clearly choose to bury your head. That is disappointing, but I have a life outside of the Internet and I choose not to waste my time going in circles when you refuse to educate yourself.

          • Scott

            Word of advice: Personal attacks do not win you an argument. Hate to tell you, but simply listing a court case with no support is not compelling.
            I have stated a position, supported it with facts and analysis and now I have looked up the court cases you reference and provided analysis. (Summary: they are bogus.) You continue to lose the argument here because you are either unable or unwilling to engage in rational debate in support of your statements.
            FACTS DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS!

          • 30yearsinreston

            Misogynist bigot!

          • Mike M

            Aaaah! Implicitly. How about you make an implicit Amendment!

          • 100yearsinReston

            This I why it needs to be explicitly written. Thanks for agreeing with me.

          • Mike M

            I don;t want it written because it doesn’t need to be written. That was my original statement. You have yet to articulate the specific problems this would solve.

          • 100yearsinReston

            https://i.imgur.com/l9zKYHF.gif

            Yes it does. Yes I have. Work on your reading comprehension.

        • Scotty doesn’t know

          Please help me “underatund” whatever the heck it is you’re trying to say. Your little old rage-filled fingers must be struggling to keep up with the hamster wheel in your head.

      • Mike M

        All you’ve done is throw out a pandering statement that is something of a generic sob story. We all face struggles, 100. Can you be more precise so I can tell you specifically why you are wrong? Too hard.

        Also, what would the ERA address that is not covered by law? Better still, how do you and your leftists save-the-worlders plan to abuse this would be Amendment?

        • 100yearsinReston

          It’s not pandering if it is true. Just because you have struggles doesn’t mean that some people have it worse.

          I’ve already cited two precedent setting SCOTUS cases that ruled against woman on Constitutional rights grounds.

          • Mike M

            And those rulings were in the right.

          • 100yearsinReston

            Which is exactly why the ERA is needed.

          • Mike M

            So, the Supreme Court can;t do the right thing?

          • 100yearsinReston

            The Supreme Court is limited by the text of the Constitution and it’s Amendments. Hence the need for an ERA. I feel like I am repeating myself.

          • Mike M

            Actually, you didn’t make your case at all. What you said is essentially, “Let’s crack open the Constitution so the Court has to break with good reason and do what the pandering DNC wants.” Right? I mean it’s your opinion that the law should be changed. I think not. There we are.

          • 100yearsinReston

            What? I provided citations to court cases that show a need for the ERA. You have simply made partisan attacks. I am pretty confident which side has the more compelling argument.

          • Mike M

            The Court was right in those cases. You remain standing their with your opinion.

          • 100yearsinReston

            https://i.imgur.com/rue1t.gif

            No, the courts were not right in the precedent setting.

          • Mike M

            But again, no fact! Just your opinion. But with that video clip, surely you MUST be right.

          • 100yearsinReston
    • 30yearsinreston

      Plum hasn’t learnt a new trick in 30 years
      He is well past his shelf life

  • 30yearsinreston

    Just a few questions Mr speaker (with a small “s’)

    As more citizens are being maimed by the failure to maintain road infrastructure

    appropriate to the increased density, have you used your influence with VDOT and the Governor to provide funding for upgrades ?

    If not, why not ?

    Why have we been allotted a pittance which wouldn’t pay for one traffic light ?

    Isn’t the security and safety of voters as they go about their daily lives a prime responsibility of our representatives ?

    I look forward to your update

    • 100yearsinReston

      Get new talking points.

      • 30yearsinreston

        Get a clue

        • 100yearsinReston

          Good one, brah.

      • Scott

        You understand 100 that you have added nothing to this discussion other than to call people names. We can have a dialogue, but you seem unwilling or unable to support your views in any fact based manner.

  • Scott

    I am now dumber for having read this article. Thanks Ken for not explaining why the ERA is important 40 yrs after it was proposed or how it would impact things. If it’s as “common sense” as the gun legislation you reference, then the answer is none and I’ll support all candidates who prevent further wasting if time on the topic.

    • Scotty doesn’t know

      Right, tell me about it! I want my elected officials to work on more important things, like destroying the environment and cutting safety nets for the poor to give more tax breaks to the rich.

      • Scott

        Yes. It’s completely binary. Anyone that would ask questions as to whether the ERA is warranted or would have any affect hates women and must be a right wing mysogonist and also wants to trample the environment and the poor. You’re intellectually bankrupt and lazy. That you would blindly support something based on the name and without understand any details says more about you than me. Move on.

  • GinaNY

    there are already non discrimination laws. another idiotic power grab by the democrats in order to force companies and businesses to have a quota on who they hire.

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