Tennessee Republicans expelled two Democratic lawmakers, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, from the state House on Thursday due to their protests over gun control following a mass school shooting. The decision has drawn widespread condemnation, outrage, and accusations of racism across the country.
Rep. Charlie Baum was one of the lone Republicans who voted against expulsion in the 75-seat majority. Baum explained that he wanted to give ousted members another opportunity to talk through House rules. He received support from as many as 100 constituents in Murfreesboro who felt that expulsion wasn't necessary.
Baum expressed his desire to protect legislative processes without anger towards fellow Republican votes: "Republican leadership did not try to persuade me... I supported my 'vote of conscience'."
Democrats argued that while actions by Jones and Pearson were mistakes deserving consequences; expulsion would set a dangerous precedent for democracy. Meanwhile, Republicans maintained it was necessary for preventing further potential attempts at disobeying chamber rules.
The Congressional Black Caucus called this event "not only racist but also morally-bankrupt" prompting backlash against Republican fundraising efforts capitalizing on expulsions as victories for state prestige.
Jones could be back in office soon with Nashville Metropolitan Council announcing intentions for reinstatement vote during Monday's special meeting—making these recent occurrences short-lived but significant nonetheless given past member expulsions dating back years ago amid various scandals including sexual misconduct charges or failed committee hearings cancellations related specifically within Tennessee Three cases like Casada's federal money laundering allegations last month after Sherrell asked about adding controversial hanging methods onto execution lists sparking continued debate around racial tensions throughout American history particularly lynchings specifically targeting black individuals still prevalent today causing even more disputes amongst political parties especially when considering gerrymandering issues brought up by Senator Raphael Warnock criticizing those participating directly impacting marginalized communities thereby evicting them essentially out of their own government representation systems ultimately affecting overall national progress towards equality amongst all citizens regardless background ethnicity socioeconomic status etc.