Two Tennessee Democrats have been expelled from the state’s House of Representatives for participating in an anti-Second Amendment protest on the chamber floor.
Justin Jones and Justin Pearson were removed after a vote in the Republican-controlled House.
Jones was removed with a vote of 75-25, and Pearson was sacked with a vote of 69-26.
A third Democrat, Rep. Gloria Johnson, was also up for a vote to be expelled — but survived by one vote. The final tally for her removal was 65-30, but needed 66 votes for expulsion.
Republican representatives Andrew Farmer, Gino Bulso, and Bud Hulsey had argued in their resolutions that the leftist politicians broke decorum and engaged in “disorderly behavior” by leading a protest last Thursday, which involved activists storming the state’s capitol building.
I deleted the last tweet because I wasn’t as clear. This was a peaceful protest. Students, parents and their supporters went through Capitol security to lobby for gun control in the Capitol. No one was arrested. This shoving started when THP needed to make way for lawmakers. pic.twitter.com/o4GApyKdt4
— Kelsey Gibbs (@kelseymgibbs) March 30, 2023
The lawmakers had used bullhorns to lead protestors that had taken over the galleries in anti-gun chants.
Tennessee House Votes to Expel Democrat Justin Jones from Legislature for His Role in Gun Protests.
The expulsion vote against Jones was 72-25. It needed 66 votes it pass. pic.twitter.com/9yogHDZNy4
— Ultra Cat (@MrTruth_199) April 6, 2023
The resolutions state that the trio “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives through their individual and collective actions.”
The Tennessean reports, “House leadership later likened the trio’s behavior to an ‘insurrection,’ a characterization House Democrats decried last week.”
During the vote, protesters shouted and had to be removed by troopers.
Confrontation among democrats on the floor.
Troopers had to physically remove some of the protestors from the gallery.
The last are leaving now yelling “this isn’t over!” pic.twitter.com/sMnasYYmF7
— Vivian Jones (@Vivian_E_Jones) April 4, 2023
Pearson claimed that Johnson was spared because of racism.
“You cannot ignore the racial dynamic of what happened today. Two young black lawmakers get expelled and the one white woman does not. That’s a statement in and of itself,” Pearson told reporters after the vote.
Johnson had threatened a lawsuit if she was expelled and has vowed to “fight this.”
“We’re going to push back, and we’re gonna fight this because it’s unprecedented and utterly ridiculous,” Johnson told reporters.
President Joe Biden weighed in on the move, saying it was “shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent.”
Three kids and three officials gunned down in yet another mass shooting.
And what are GOP officials focused on?
Punishing lawmakers who joined thousands of peaceful protesters calling for action.
It’s shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent. https://t.co/NB9gSdFI9h
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 6, 2023
The Tennessean report notes that expelling lawmakers is not actually without precedent.
Just last year, the Tennessee Senate expelled Sen. Katrina Robinson after she was convicted of federal wire fraud charges.
“The last time the House expelled a sitting lawmaker was in 2016 when the chamber voted 70-2 to remove then-Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, from the House for alleged sexual misconduct. At the time, it was the first expulsion since 1980 and only the second since the Civil War,” the report explains. “Robert Fisher was kicked out of the House in 1980 after being convicted of soliciting a $1,000 bribe in exchange to kill a bill. Six lawmakers were ousted during an 1866 special session after they tried to prevent Tennessee from ratifying an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to provide citizenship to former slaves.”
Former president Barack Obama joined Biden in defending the politicians, tweeting, “This nation was built on peaceful protest. No elected official should lose their job simply for raising their voice – especially when they’re doing it on behalf of our children.”