As everyone watching knew what would happen, Justin Pearson, one of the “Tennessee Three” expelled from the state legislature after helping lead an insurrection, has been reappointed to the Tennessee House of Representatives by the Shelby County Commission.
The Shelby County Commission votes unanimously to reappoint Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson pic.twitter.com/EknHG70yFY
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 12, 2023
Rep. Justin Jones was expelled by the Democrats last week and was reappointed Monday afternoon.
Jones and Pearson were reappointed but the GOP Speaker does not have to seat them. Given their conduct and that they are completely unrepentant, it would be justifiable. But he is going to. My co-worker said:
It is difficult to see the point in Tennessee expulsion if expelled members can be reinstated almost immediately. I believe the law was written to ensure that there is a legitimate successor and not a reappointment. Otherwise, it would not be possible to expel. The GOP should not just ignore this. They should refuse Jones’ seat and, if necessary, take legal action. The Speaker has indicated that this won’t happen as of now.
However, even if the GOP cannot legally do anything else and this ends up being another form of censure I’m fine with it. Republican voters have been complaining for years about the inability of their elected representatives, over and above all else, to actually do the right thing. Sometimes, you get into a battle and end up in a deadlock. This may be the case here. But I would rather see Republicans actually engage than make excuses for why they can’t do anything. You miss every shot that you refuse to take in sports. It’s no different in politics.
It’s no surprise that Johnson and Pearson are being seated, given that Jody Barrett, a Republican, was convinced by Gloria Johnson’s arguments. This is a reminder to make sure your votes are in order before you vote.
However, my coworker had another brilliant point. They’re not powerless, even though they are both back.
It is likely that Jones and Pearson will continue to be completely ignored in the legislature, regardless of what happens. This means that they will not be able to put their ideas up for a vote, and they will also remain out of all committee assignments. If that is the type of representation they want for their cities, then so be it.
For the remaining term of Jones and Pearson, special elections will be held. They will undoubtedly win and they’ll have exactly the same ability to get the job done as before. However, given the composition of the legislature, they don’t hold a lot of power.
They might be able to use the power they have to stop more children from being killed, rather than grandstanding for political points.