'Miscarriage of justice': Metro Nashville council reappoints Justin Jones

'Miscarriage of justice': Metro Nashville council reappoints Justin Jones
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 06: Democratic state Rep. Justin Jones of Nashville gestures during a vote on his expulsion from the state legislature at the State Capitol Building on April 6, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. He was expelled after he and two other Democratic reps led a protest at the Tennessee State Capital building in the wake of a mass shooting where three students and three adults were killed on March 27 at the Covenant School in Nashville. (Photo by Seth Herald/Getty Images)

Cheers erupted Monday evening after Nashville's Metropolitan Council unanimously reappointed Democratic Rep. Justin Jones to the Tennessee House of Representatives after Republicans expelled him from the chamber last week over a gun control protest.

In sharp contrast with the Republican-dominated House's 72-25 expulsion vote on Thursday, all 36 council members supported Jones reclaiming his seat representing District 52.

Just before the "unprecedented" vote, Democratic Nashville Mayor John Cooper declared that "voters in District 52 elected Justin Jones to be their voice at the statehouse, and that voice was taken away this past week. So let's give them their voice back. I call on this body to vote unanimously, right now, to do just that."

Jones was the only candidate even considered. He was nominated by Delishia Porterfield, the Democratic council member for District 29, who called his expulsion a "miscarriage of justice."

Ahead of the Tennessee House's Monday night session, Jones marched with a police escort from City Hall to the state Capitol, where protesters chanted, "Welcome home!"

As The Tennessean reports:

Jones took a bullhorn in his hands and began speaking.

"Today we sent a clear message to Speaker Cameron Sexton [R-25] that the people will not allow his crimes against democracy to happen without challenge," he said. "This is not about one person. It's not about one position. It's about a movement of people empowered to restore the soul of what this building should represent and that is democracy."

Chancellor I'Ashea L. Myles led Jones in his oath on the steps of the Capitol as cheers erupted from the crowd. When he was done, he raised his fist into the air.

Along with Jones, Rep. Justin Pearson (D-86), a fellow young Black man, was expelled from the House last week. A third GOP expulsion resolution targeting Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-13), who is white, failed.

As Jones returned to the chamber Monday evening, he walked with Johnson—one arm linked with hers, and the other raised, with his hand in a fist.

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