AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton used the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act to criticize efforts in several states to restrict voting, notably photo identification requirements, saying they threaten to roll back half a century of progress.
Clinton spoke Wednesday night during the Civil Rights Summit at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library at the University of Texas in Austin. The library is hosting the three-day event to mark the anniversary of the landmark 1964 law that banned widespread discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities and women.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to give the keynote address Thursday and former President George. W. Bush will wrap up the summit later that day.
Clinton, the 42nd president, praised Johnson for pushing through laws that helped remove political and economic barriers for millions. He noted that Johnson was a “son of the South” and a “a Texan bred with the state’s outsized ambitions (who) saw limitless possibilities in the lives of other people like him, who just happened to have a different color skin.”
He also praised those who gave their lives in the civil rights struggle, such as Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers and other victims of bombings and shootings.
Clinton spent much of his speech addressing last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was also signed into law by Johnson. The ruling allows several states with a history of discriminatory voting laws, mostly in the south, to change election laws without federal approval.
“It sent a signal throughout the country,” Clinton said of the ruling. “We all know what this is about. This is a way of restricting a franchise after 50 years of expanding it … Is this was Martin Luther King gave his life for?”
Clinton noted laws in at least 10 states that require voters to present photo identification to cast ballots.
“We all know what this is about. This is a way of restricting a franchise after 50 years of expanding it,” Clinton said. “Is this was Martin Luther King gave his life for?”
Supporters of the measures, mostly Republican conservatives, contend that the ID checks protect against fraudulent voting and thus help build trust in government. Critics see them as a way of discouraging the kind of voters who lack picture IDs and might be more likely to support Democrats.
But Clinton didn’t address one of the hottest topics in the modern civil rights discussion – gay marriage – or touch on equal pay for women legislation that has broiled into an election-year issue in Washington and Texas.
Clinton signed the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriages. By 2013, Clinton said he believed the bill to be unconstitutional, arguing that it allowed discrimination. The Supreme Court ruled last year that the law improperly deprived gay couples of due process.
The Supreme Court ruling came at a time when polls showed a majority of Americans now support gay marriage. Lower court judges have repeatedly cited the Supreme Court when striking down same-sex marriage bans in several states. Gay marriage is now legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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