Republicans in Tennessee have utilized their state House supermajority to expel two Black Democrats for allegedly violating the rules during a gun control protest. Reports say, however, a third Democrat, a White woman has evaded expulsion after failing to gather a two-thirds majority.On April 3, Republican lawmakers in Tennessee reportedly sponsored resolutions to expel Democrats Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson after their gun control protest last March 30. The Republicans argued that the three Democrats violated the chamber’s rules of decorum during the protest that was intended to condemn the school shooting in Nashville.
According to Collinson, Jones and Pearson, the two Black Democrats, were expelled from their positions following the gun control protest. This invalidated the tens of thousands of votes of their constituents. However, Johnson, the White Democrat, evaded expulsion after the Republicans failed to gather the two-thirds majority that was required. This disparity has raised accusations that racial discrimination was a factor in the split votes.
Growing Clash Following the Gun Control Protest
An article on AP News states that following the gun control protest, the clash between Democrats and Republicans has consistently grown. Republicans stated that the Democrats have obstructed the residents’ businesses and insisted that democracy is not effective if the lawmakers themselves refused to follow the rules. However, the Democrats argued that their opinions have long been silenced by the unyielding Republican supermajority and accused the opposition of violating their rights to free expression and dissent.