Aoki Center Presents: Professor Kim Forde-Mazrui "Why the ERA Would Endanger Women’s Equality - Lessons from Colorblind Constitutionalism"

Aoki Seminar Series - Professor Kim Forde-Mazrui, University of VA WHY THE ERA WOULD ENDANGER WOMEN’S EQUALITY - LESSONS FROM COLORBLIND CONSTITUTIONALISM The purpose of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to those who drafted it in 1923 and those who worked for decades to see it ratified, is women’s equality. The ERA may be on the cusp of ratification depending on congressional action and potential litigation. Its supporters continue to believe the ERA would advance women’s equality. Their belief, however, is gravely mistaken. The ERA would likely endanger women’s equality. What is needed is an alternative ERA that would explicitly require, or at least allow, proactive efforts to advance women’s equality. Kim Forde-Mazrui joined the law faculty of the University of Virginia in 1996 and was promoted to full professor in 2001. He teaches Constitutional Law, Employment Discrimination, Criminal Law, and Race and Law. His scholarship focuses on equal protection, especially involving race and sexual orientation. His publications have considered what role race should play in placing children for adoption; whether and how to select racially and other demographically diverse juries; whether affirmative action policies that employ race-neutral means are constitutional; whether America is morally obligated to remedy past discrimination; and whether racial profiling and other discriminatory practices by law enforcement are adequately deterred by current constitutional doctrines. His scholarship has also examined the parallels between historical arguments against interracial relationships and contemporary arguments against same-sex relationships, as well as the role of tradition as a justification for banning same-sex marriage. The hallmark of Forde-Mazrui's approach is to take seriously the conflicting perspectives on controversial issues, and to offer constructive proposals to move society beyond current, often intractable, debates.