Federal Investigation Of State GOP For Subverting Democracy Sought By Schumer, Warnock, & Dems

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On Wednesday, a group of Senate Democrats including the party’s leader in the chamber, New York’s Chuck Schumer, requested an investigation by the Justice Department into the conduct of the state GOP in Tennessee. There, the party’s majority in the state legislature voted two lower-chamber lawmakers out of office simply for participating in peaceful demonstrations seeking action against gun violence.

It’s not like the situation isn’t serious. Just recently, a mass shooting at a private school in Nashville involved six deaths other than the shooter, a list including three children, all of whom were under the age of 10. There have been multiple mass shootings since that incident, including a mass murder at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, targeting staff members. In Indiana, the state Senate recently approved a resolution honoring the work of the gun-rights group known as the National Rifle Association (NRA), sparking impromptu protests inside the state Capitol against the group’s Wayne LaPierre. Over in the U.S. Senate, the Democrats joining the push for an investigation into Tennessee Republicans’ conduct included, besides Schumer, Sens. Raphael Warnock (Ga.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Alex Padilla (Calif.), and Brian Schatz (Hawaii).

Areas of concern for Schumer, Warnock, and the rest included possible violations of the expelled lawmakers’ constituents’ rights to representation in the legislature and potential infringements of the legislators’ own rights against racial discrimination and to free speech, both of which originate with the Constitution. The expelled state legislators were Justin Pearson and Justin Jones — who are both Black. A third legislator who was up for possible expulsion, Democrat Gloria Johnson, ended up left in her seat — and, notably, is white. Already, Pearson and Jones were sent back to their seats by administrative bodies in the areas they represent, but they’re now there only in interim capacities and seemingly must still go through special elections to continue in their legislative positions.

The U.S. Senate Democrats also expressly supported the shows of support for the protests in which Jones, Pearson, and Johnson were originally involved. The three Tennessee Democrats gathered in the front of their chamber with a megaphone amid protest waves.

“We believe the repeated and preventable slaughter of our children should frustrate and disrupt decorum because this horrifying pattern must never be accepted as business as usual,” the Senators said. “Moreover, we do not believe that breaking decorum is alone sufficient cause for employing the most draconian of consequences to duly-elected lawmakers.”

“Many in the Tennessee legislature appear to have convinced themselves that The People’s House is their house, and they have effectively evicted the districts’ voters out of their own house,” they added. “This is un-democratic, un-American, and unacceptable, and the U.S. Department of Justice should investigate whether it was also unlawful or unconstitutional.” Read more at this link.