grandfather clause(redirected from Grandfather in)
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1. A provision in a statute that exempts an activity or item from new regulations that would otherwise prevent engagement in that activity or use of that item.
2. A clause in some southern state constitutions that exempted descendants of persons allowed to vote prior to the Civil War from subsequent voting restrictions, meaning that such restrictions disfranchised many African Americans while not applying to many whites.
1. (Historical Terms) history US a clause in the constitutions of several Southern states that waived electoral literacy requirements for lineal descendants of people voting before 1867, thus ensuring the franchise for illiterate White people: declared unconstitutional in 1915
2. (Law) a clause in legislation that forbids or regulates an activity so that those engaged in it are exempted from the ban
1. a clause in the constitutions of some Southern states before 1915 intended to permit whites to vote while disfranchising blacks: it exempted the descendants of those who voted before 1867 from new rigid qualifications.
2. any legal provision that exempts a business, class of persons, etc., from a new regulation that would affect prior rights and privileges.