Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Stepping out, Hillary Clinton takes on social justice


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday signaled a preview to an anticipated 2016 presidential run in the first of what will be a series of political speeches this fall covering the topical issues of voting rights and national security.

Speaking at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco, Clinton, who is seen as the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, said she plans to speak in September about the “balance and transparency necessary in our national security policies,” then later in the fall “will address implications on these issues for [America’s] global leadership and moral standing around the world.”

Seven months out since she left her post at the State Department, Clinton’s political rhetoric turned partisan on Monday as she criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act earlier this summer, and the efforts by many around the country to block voting rights.

“Not every obstacle is related to race, but anyone who says that racial discrimination is no longer a problem in American elections must not be paying attention,” Clinton said. She addressed the recent actions in Texas and in Florida to make voting harder for minority and youth voters.

Clinton also singled out North Carolina’s latest elections bill, signed into law Monday by Gov. Pat McCrory, which she referred to as containing the “greatest hits of voter suppression.”

The former secretary of state and U.S. senator urged audience members to put pressure on Congress to fix the “hole opened up by the Supreme Court’s ruling” on the Voting Rights Act, adding that, until they do, “citizens will be victimized by the law instead of served by it.”

Monday’s speech, and the announcement that there were more speeches to come, suggests that Clinton is laying the groundwork for a potential 2016 campaign. At the top of her address, Clinton gave a brief summary of her past successes working within the law to help break barriers, and seek justice and equality.

She also spoke about her time as secretary of state, and shared her observations of democracy in action abroad. “One of the observations I’ve made traveling the world over is how rare trust is, yet trust is the thread that weaves together the social fabric that enables democracy to exist,” Clinton said. “When citizens are alienated from their government, democracy suffers. And around the world in recent years, we’ve seen what can happen when trust unravels and societies pull apart.”

On Monday evening during an interview with Buzzfeed, New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner hinted that a 2016 campaign plan existed for Clinton already. When asked if he knew of his wife Huma Abedin’s role in Clinton’s future campaign, Weiner responded, “I do. I’m not going to tell you.”

Hillary Clinton

Stepping out, Hillary Clinton takes on social justice