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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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