grandfather clause

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grandfather clause,

provision in constitutions (adopted 1895–1910) of seven post–Reconstruction Southern states that exempted those persons who had been eligible to vote on Jan. 1, 1867, and their descendants from rigid economic and literacy requirements for voting. Since African Americans had not yet been enfranchised on that date, the provision effectively barred them from the polls while granting voting rights to poor and illiterate whites. Such provisions were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1915. The term grandfather clause is now applied to any kind of legal exemption based on prior status.
References in periodicals archive ?
Representation became slightly less proportional than it was under the amalgam system, notably because the grandfather clause applied in relation to a lower total number of seats.
Today, due to grandfather clauses written into the Act by Congress and to activities that ignore the law, wilderness areas are being trammeled by people, cows, military jets and other forms of human intrusion.
Adverse changes in the tax treatment of particular securities are often accompanied by grandfather clauses that shield existing holders from the changes.