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‘Tennessee Three’ member sues State House Speaker in federal court.

The Tennessee‌ House of Representatives’⁣ legislative ⁢session this year has been nothing short of chaotic. In April, State Rep. Justin Jones, a Nashville Democrat and⁢ member of ⁣the “Tennessee Three,”⁤ was ousted from the chamber by his colleagues. However, he‍ didn’t back down. After staging a protest on​ the​ House⁢ floor calling ‍for gun control following the Covenant School⁢ Shooting, Jones was⁢ reelected to his⁢ seat. Now, he’s ⁣taking his ‍fight to the next level by filing a federal complaint against Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton.

Jones filed⁤ the suit in U.S.⁣ District Court for ⁢the Middle District of Tennessee on Oct. 2, ‍alleging civil rights violations including ​violations of the U.S. Constitution’s ‌Article ‌1, First Amendment, and 14th Amendment.

The lawsuit doesn’t stop⁢ there. It also⁢ names other⁤ key figures in the House,⁤ including‍ the ⁤chief⁣ clerk,​ the ‍chief⁣ sergeant at arms, and Daniel ⁤Hicks, the assistant​ chief clerk and parliamentarian who acted as a mediator between Jones⁤ and Sexton during the session. According to Jones’‍ attorney, these individuals have repeatedly blocked him from expressing his⁤ views ⁤on critical issues, effectively ‌silencing⁢ dissenting voices and⁣ violating ⁤both the Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions.

In his complaint, Jones ​seeks relief‌ for the “illegal and unconstitutional”‌ actions taken against him and others in the Tennessee ‍Legislature.‍ He is demanding injunctive relief to stop further violations ‌of‍ his rights and full ⁣restoration of the benefits, rights, and privileges that were stripped from him. The lawsuit also⁢ highlights ‌the alleged discriminatory treatment Jones faced due to his race.

Despite the gravity of the​ situation, ‍neither Sexton’s office nor his attorney has responded to requests⁢ for comment. It seems that the chaos in the Tennessee House ‌of ‍Representatives is far⁣ from over.

Complaint’s Allegations

The complaint⁣ alleges⁢ that Jones’ expulsion was part of a larger effort to suppress open discussion about gun control. According to the lawsuit, ⁣the proceedings were rigged against⁢ him from the start, serving⁣ as a pretext to silence his voice. Jones claims that he was not only robbed ⁣of committee appointments and seniority but⁣ also forced ‍to undergo ⁢the expense and burden of running for reelection.

The lawsuit further reveals that ⁤during a contentious special​ legislative session in August, rules imposed ‍by ⁢the Republican supermajority were draconian and unconstitutional, preventing Jones from participating in the debate. These actions have disenfranchised the citizens of his district,⁣ denying them ⁣representation by the person⁢ they elected to speak for them.

Race

In a striking revelation, Jones asserts that the attempts‍ to silence ⁣him were not only politically motivated but also⁣ discriminatory. He claims that he and another ⁢expelled ⁤representative,⁢ Justin Pearson, who both represent ‍majority minority districts,⁢ were targeted because of‌ their ‍race. Meanwhile,​ a white⁣ representative aligned with Jones, ‌Gloria Johnson, ‌was spared expulsion despite engaging in similar protests.

According to Jones, his​ 14th Amendment due process rights were violated due to disparate racial treatment.

“The government denied equal protection to Representative Jones⁤ in treating him ‍differently than similarly situated white⁣ House members for the same conduct,” the lawsuit states.

Special Session Censure

The lawsuit also highlights the censure vote against Jones ‌during a special legislative session on public safety. The rules adopted by the​ House included stricter punishments for ⁢being ruled out-of-order, leading to ⁤Jones’ censure. He claims ⁤that this vote violated his rights.

Furthermore, Jones alleges that ​House​ leaders prevented him from bringing up a motion for a vote of “no confidence”⁢ against Sexton during additional business at the end of the special session. He⁤ argues that ​his​ censure ⁢was used as grounds to deny him this right. Additionally, Jones and other Democrats elected during later elections were not placed on committees, violating ⁤their due process rights.

How does the lawsuit describe the role of​ the​ chief ‍clerk, the chief sergeant at arms, and the assistant chief clerk and parliamentarian in obstructing Jones’ legislative efforts?

⁣Ing for reelection after ⁣being expelled.

Furthermore,​ Jones asserts that Republican leadership, including Speaker Cameron Sexton, is knowingly complicit in ⁤suppressing dissenting views and violating the First Amendment rights of ⁢lawmakers. The suit alleges that Sexton and other key figures in the House deliberately impeded Jones’ ability to advocate for gun control legislation and marginalized his voice on critical issues.

The‌ lawsuit details several instances where Jones’ attempts to participate in debates‍ and offer amendments⁤ were thwarted. ‍It highlights ⁢the‍ role of the chief clerk, the chief‌ sergeant ‍at arms, and the assistant chief clerk and parliamentarian in obstructing Jones’ efforts. These individuals are accused of selectively ‍enforcing rules and procedures to silence Jones and prevent him from fully representing his constituents.

Jones’ attorney argues that these actions not only violated the U.S. Constitution’s First and Fourteenth Amendments, ⁢which protect freedom of ​speech and ⁢equal protection ⁢under the law, but ‍also Tennessee’s own constitutional provisions guaranteeing lawmakers ‌the right⁢ to express ⁣their views freely. The complaint contends that Jones’ expulsion and subsequent exclusion from participating in legislative activities were unconstitutional and amounted‌ to an abuse ​of⁤ power.

In response, Jones is seeking immediate relief from the court. He demands ‌injunctions to ⁣prevent further violation of his rights and‌ restoration ​of his privileges as a representative.⁢ Additionally, Jones highlights the racial discrimination⁢ he endured, alleging that he was unfairly targeted and treated differently based‌ on his race.

Despite the ⁤serious ⁣nature of​ these allegations, Speaker‍ Cameron Sexton’s office and his attorney have​ remained silent,⁢ refusing to comment on ⁤the lawsuit. ‍This lack of response only adds to‍ the uncertainty surrounding the situation⁣ and raises​ questions ⁤about transparency and accountability within the Tennessee House of Representatives.

The outcome of this ​federal complaint⁢ will have far-reaching ​implications for the state’s legislative process and the protection‌ of‌ lawmakers’‍ rights. It ‍will determine whether dissenting voices can be silenced ⁤or if the fundamental‍ principles of free speech and equal representation will prevail. In the midst of this chaos, it is essential that the court carefully considers the evidence presented ‍and ‌ensures that justice is served.

As the legal battle unfolds, the Tennessee ⁤House of Representatives must reckon​ with the grave accusations leveled against ‍it. If these allegations are proven true, it would require a thorough reassessment of the chamber’s practices​ and⁣ a commitment to upholding the values enshrined in both ⁤the Tennessee and ⁣U.S. Constitutions. Only then can the chaos⁣ subside, and the legislators ⁣regain the trust of the people they were elected to​ serve.



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