“The grandfather clause isn`t really a way to deprive anyone of their rights,” says Michael Klarman, a Harvard law professor. “It was a way to empower whites who would have been excluded by things like literacy clauses. It was politically necessary, because otherwise you would have too much resistance from the poor whites who would have been disenfranchised. But like so many things, the term “grandfather” used in this way has its roots in American racial history. It was included in the lexicon, not only because it suggests something old, but also because of a certain set of 19th century laws that govern voting. Some state legislators adopted grandfathering clauses even though they knew they could not pass the constitutional revision. The Louisiana Constitutional Convention passed a grandfather clause, although one of the state`s U.S. senators warned that it would be “grossly unconstitutional.” Grandfathering clauses are also common in the electricity industry. In many countries, new regulations on carbon emissions are applied to planned generation plants, while existing coal-fired power plants have been given inventory clauses for certain periods. In part, the clauses are introduced to give coal-fired power plants time to integrate emissions controls and to give workers and communities that depend on coal mining enough time to break away from the industry. However, the decision had almost no effect.
The Oklahoma Legislature met in special session on grandfathering rights. The new law stipulated that those who had been registered in 1914 — whites under the old system — were automatically registered to vote, while African Americans could only register or be disenfranchised forever between April 30 and May 11, 1916. African Americans generally lacked the financial resources to take legal action. Founded in 1909, the NAACP persuaded an American lawyer to challenge the Oklahoma grandfather clause, which had come into effect in 1910. Oklahoma pledged to change its law after that decision. The revised law stipulated that anyone who could vote under the grandfather clause automatically had the right to vote, and those who had been denied the right to vote had twelve days to register to vote in 1916. If they were outside the county where they lived, or if they were prevented from enrolling due to illness or unavoidable circumstances, they had an additional fifty days to register in 1916. After this period, blacks who tried to register to vote were refused because the registration time outside the grandfather clause had expired in 1916. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled these provisions unconstitutional in Guinn v.
United States (1915), states were forced to stop using grandfathering clauses to grant an exemption from literacy testing. Without grandfather clauses, tens of thousands of poor whites in the South were disenfranchised in the early 20th century. Over the decades, southern states have tended to extend the right to vote for poor whites, but most blacks could only vote after the Passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The ratification of the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1964 prohibited the use of voting taxes in federal elections, but some states continued to use them in state elections. White Democrats drafted laws and passed new constitutions that created restrictive rules for voter registration. The collection of voting taxes as well as residency and literacy tests are examples of this. An exception to these requirements was made for all persons who were allowed to vote before the Civil War and for each of their descendants. The term grandfather clause derives from the fact that the laws linked the voting rights of the current generation to those of their grandfathers. According to Black`s Law Dictionary, some southern states adopted constitutional provisions that exempted descendants of those who had fought in the U.S. army or navy or Confederate states from literacy requirements.
Perhaps that`s because the grandfather clause wasn`t just about race — and because it was banned a century ago — most people use the term “grandfather in” and never realize that it once had racist overtones. One of the most common uses of grandfathering clauses is to amend zoning laws. In situations where changes to zoning laws prohibit the creation of new retail establishments, existing stores are generally granted grandfathering clauses that allow them to remain in stores if they meet certain restrictions. A common restriction in these circumstances is the sale of a business that can repeal the grandfather clause. The judges feared that the grandfather clause was not only discriminatory, but that it was a clear attempt by a state to overturn the federal constitution. .