Grandfather clause

From Academic Kids

In the United States, a grandfather clause is an exception which allows something pre-existing to remain as it is, despite a change to the contrary in the rules applied to newer situations. It is often used as the verb "to grandfather" or alternatively, as "grandfather clause." Often, such a provision is used as a compromise, to effect new rules without upsetting a well-established physical or political situation. But note that to "grandfather in" actually means the opposite; when a new situation comes about that would be to the benefit of a person who would not have qualified. For example, if a company has a pension plan and then after a certain date the benefits get better but the already retired get the benefits, then one might say they were "grandfathered in". This amounts to the same thing as being "retroactively applied".

Examples

Origin

The source of the term grandfather clause was the Jim Crow laws used from 1895 to 1910 in seven of the Southern United States to prevent blacks, Native Americans and whites of non-British descent from voting. In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment, granting former slaves the right to vote, was ratified. In response, these states passed laws providing that all persons allowed to vote before the American Civil War, and any of their descendants, were exempt from poll taxes levied and/or supposed "literacy" tests required at the time. These laws had the effect of disenfranchising blacks, but not whites, until the ratification of the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and a 1966 Supreme Court ruling eliminated most legal barriers to black voting.

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