Justin Pearson reinstated to Tennessee House after GOP expulsion

Nashville, Tennessee - Justin Pearson has become the second Tennessee Democrat to be reinstated following a unanimous vote from the Shelby County Board of Commissioners!

Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson speaks to supporters after a vote for his reinstatement by the Shelby County Commission.
Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson speaks to supporters after a vote for his reinstatement by the Shelby County Commission.  © REUTERS

After Pearson (28) and thousands of supporters marched to the Shelby County government building, all seven commissioners voted to reinstate the deposed lawmaker to represent House District 86, which includes parts of Memphis.

Supporters cheered from the gallery as the decision was announced.

"The message for all the people in Nashville who decided to expel us: You can’t expel hope," Pearson told the crowd after the vote. "You can’t expel justice. You can’t expel our voice. And you sure can’t expel our fight. We look forward to continuing to fight, continuing to advocate until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream!"

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"They tried to kill democracy. They tried to expel the people’s choice and the people’s vote. And they awakened a sleeping giant," he added.

Justice Department called to investigate Tennessee expulsions

Justin Pearson pumps his fist after securing his return to the Tennessee State Capitol.
Justin Pearson pumps his fist after securing his return to the Tennessee State Capitol.  © REUTERS

Pearson's reappointment came after his colleague Justin Jones (27) was reinstated on Monday to represent House District 52, covering parts of Nashville.

The two Black legislators were expelled by Republicans after they led a protest at the Tennessee State Capitol calling for an end to gun violence following a devastating school shooting in Nashville.

Their colleague Gloria Johnson (60), who also joined the demonstration but is white, managed to hold onto her seat, leading to allegations that racism played a role in the depositions.

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A group of US senators, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock, have called on the Justice Department to initiate an investigation into the expulsions.

In the meantime, Pearson and Jones have been reinstated as interim representatives until a special election is held. Both have indicated they plan to run for the seats.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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