TN Allows Expelled Rep Back Into House

( – While walking through the nation’s Capitol building quietly has resulted in jail time for some Americans, elected representatives in the Tennessee legislature get more leeway for disruptive acts that break the rules.

A panel in Memphis voted unanimously on April 12th to override the legislature’s expulsion of state Rep. Justin Pearson. Pearson and state Rep. Justin Jones were expelled after leading a mob of protesters to interrupt the House in its chamber on March 30th, screaming into bullhorns to drown out the proceedings.

Pearson, Jones, and Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson participated with protestors in the mob. Their goal was to force the legislature to enact more laws controlling guns after a 28-year-old woman who called herself transgender opened fire at the Covenant School on March 27, killing three children and three adults.

Responding police killed the shooter, Audrey Hale, who was found in the school library still shooting.

After the Tennessee House expelled Jones and Pearson for violating binding rules on behavior for elected officials in session, the Biden White House praised the rabble-rousers.

As expected, both expelled lawmakers and their supporters claimed “racism” was the reason they got expelled. Tennessee lawmakers denied that claim, but as usual, claiming racism proved a winning argument.

Tennessee law allows city-based panels and commissions to – at least temporarily – override expulsions of lawmakers and return those local representatives to the state house.

A Nashville panel voted to reinstate Jones on April 10th. On April 12th, Pearson’s city of Memphis convened a similar panel, sending him back to the state house.

The Memphis panelists followed up their unanimous reinstatement vote with praise for Pearson. “You belong on the national level,” said Shelby County Commissioner Erika Sugarmom. Commissioner Miska Clay Bibbs said she was “extremely proud” of the lawmaker. 

Tennessee rules state that such reappointments are temporary, and the Governor must schedule primary elections for the members’ seats within 60 days and a general election within 107 days.

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