Second Expelled Tennessee Dem Reinstated To State House
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 06: Democratic state Rep. Justin Pearson of Memphis speaks on his phone while being expelled from the state Legislature on April 6, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. Pearson and fellow Democratic Reps. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville and Justin Jones of Nashville were brought up for expulsion for leading chants of protesters from the floor in the wake of a mass shooting at a Christian school in which three 9-year-old students and three adults were killed by a 28-year-old former student of the school on March 27. Pearson and Jones, who is also Black, were expelled while the vote against Johnson, who is white, fell one vote short.
Seth Herald/Getty Images

The second Tennessee Democrat — who was ousted for his role in the storming of the state capitol earlier this month — was unanimously reappointed by a Memphis commission Wednesday.

Justin Pearson was expelled last week in a vote of 69-26 for breaking decorum rules after he joined fellow Democrats and gun-control protesters who stormed into the state capitol, demanding more gun restrictions following the mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville. Hundreds of Pearson’s supporters joined him in Memphis as city officials voted 7-0 to send him back to the state House.

“The message for all the people in Nashville who decided to expel us: You can’t expel hope. You can’t expel justice,” Pearson said at the meeting, according to the Associated Press. “You can’t expel our voice. And you sure can’t expel our fight.”

After being reappointed, Pearson promised that the events of the past week are only the beginning. “They’ve awakened a sleeping giant,” he said.

Pearson was accused of using a “fake Southern preacher voice” as his fame grew nationwide following his expulsion. Video resurfaced online of Pearson back in his college days, pitching a moderate brand of politics absent the fiery rhetoric and dramatic, preacher-like delivery the Memphis lawmaker has employed since his ouster from the statehouse.

Pearson’s fellow Democrat Justin Jones — who admitted to sneaking a bullhorn into the chamber under his coat, after which he led chants with people sitting in the balcony — was unanimously reappointed on Monday by the Nashville Metropolitan Council.

Democrats on the floor and protesters in the gallery were emotional when the vote unfolded to expel the Democrat members. Some screamed that the Republicans were turning Tennessee into a “fascist state.” After the expulsion of Pearson, observers in the gallery started screaming at Republicans with at least one protester shedding tears and screaming “shame.”


The two lawmakers, along with their fellow Democrat Gloria Johnson who was nearly expelled as well, were joined by Vice President Kamala Harris at Fisk University in Nashville last week. The vice president’s visit showcased her solidarity with the expelled Democrats as she called on Tennessee to pass more gun control. Harris did not meet with any of the families of the Covenant School shooting victims during her time in Nashville.

Leif Le Mahieu contributed to this report.

Create a free account to join the conversation!

Already have an account?

Log in

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Second Expelled Tennessee Dem Reinstated To State House