Nashville, Tenn. (AP) – Two former Black Democratic attorneys who have been ousted by their Republican colleagues in Tennessee they say that they want to be sent back again, and then elected to their seats, following the ouster on account of the protest on the floor of the court. urgent gun control measures in case of shooting a deadly game.
Metro Nashville councilman Justin Jones is likely to be called to the seat at a special meeting Monday. Mickell Lowery, chairman of the Shelby County Commission, said on Sunday that the board will decide at Wednesday’s meeting whether to reinstate Justin Pearson, who is from Memphis.
Lowery said he understands the need to respond to those who “stepped up” the state House of Representatives.
“However, I believe the impeachment of State Representative Justin Pearson was carried out hastily without consideration of other methods of improvement. I also believe that the ramifications of our great state are yet to be seen,” he said.
Both former lawmakers told NBC reporters at the meeting on Sunday that they want to return to their positions as lawmakers. Special elections for the seats, which are yet to be decided, will follow in the coming months.
The expulsions have made Tennessee a new front in the battle for the future of American democracy. The old legislators quickly drew supporters. President Joe Biden spoke with them and Vice President Kamala Harris visited them in Nashville.
“You know, we’re going to fight for our constitutions,” Jones said. “And I just want to say one thing… this attack against us hurts all the people in our city. You know, even though it’s disproportionately impacting Black and Brown communities, this evil is hurting poor white people. Their attack on democracy hurts us all.
In a separate vote on Thursday, the GOP supermajority ousted Jones and Pearson, leaving about 140,000 voters in primarily black counties in Nashville and Memphis without representation in the House.
Pearson and Jones were fired for their role in a protest the week before, which unfolded in the aftermath of a school shooting in Nashville that killed six people, including three young students and three adults working at the school. The shooter was killed by the police.
Third democratic, Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville was re-elected by a one-vote margin. Johnson is white, a cry for the various results of two young, Black legislators. Republican lawmakers who split the vote cited Johnson’s points on the ground that his role in the protest was less — he didn’t speak into a megaphone, for example.
Johnson also suggested that race was likely a factor in why Jones and Pearson were fired but not him, as reporters “could have something to do with the color of our skin.”
Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton said “the narrative is false.”
“It’s unfortunate that he’s trying to put political racism in this, because there was nothing in this,” Sexton told Fox News on Friday.
GOP leaders said the eviction actions — the fewest they’ve used since the Civil War — did not set a precedent that lawmakers’ disruptions to the House of Protest would be tolerated.
Pearson said the statehouse is a “toxic work environment.” He noted the scrutiny he received for wearing a black ashiki, a tunic that originated in West Africa, to the session rather than a suit and tie.
“It’s about us not belonging to the establishment because they are afraid of the changes that are happening in our society and the voices that are being raised,” said Pearson in Meet the Press.