Tennessee House Republicans carried out an unprecedented attack on democracy by expelling Rep. Justin Jones for supporting a gun protest.
Republicans hold a 75-seat supermajority in the House and need only 66 votes to expel the Democrats.
“The world is watching Tennessee,” Jones said in his opening before a nearly party line vote, 72-25, in favor of expelling him. “What is happening today is a farce of democracy.”
Jones argued that the proceedings were a lynching — “not of me, but of the democratic process.”
Jones pointed out that Republicans kept an admitted child molester and a sexual assaulter in the House and did not expel them:
Wow: Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones, one of the Dems that the GOP is trying to expel from state legislature to protesting gun violence, calls out his colleagues on the floor
‘For years, one of your colleagues, an admitted child molester, sat in this chamber – no expulsion’ pic.twitter.com/KNDrhX3gl1
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 6, 2023
What is unfolding in the Tennessee House is an attack on democracy like the United States has never seen. Jones was elected by the voters of his district, but he was expelled for violating rules of decorum by supporting a gun protest after an elementary school shooting in Nashville killed three nine-year-old children and three adults.
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Jones did nothing to deserve expulsion except speak out against gun violence. It is a certainty that if he would have instead violated the rules of decorum by denouncing the arrest and arraignment of Donald Trump he would never have been expelled.
Democracies do not remove members of the minority party for expressing views that the majority disagrees with.
Republican authoritarianism has come to Tennessee, and here is hoping that Rep. Jones wins his seat back in the special election, because the Tennessee constitution forbids members from being expelled twice.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association