On Monday, former Attorney General Eric Holder and five other attorneys threatened to take legal action against Tennessee Republicans for expelling two Democrat state legislators from the Tennessee House of Representatives.
In their warning letter to Rep. Cameron Sexton, the Speaker of the Tennessee House, the six Washing D.C.-based attorneys argued that State Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville) and former State Rep. Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) were “wrongfully” ousted “for merely exercising their constitutional rights.”
On March 30, Reps. Jones, Pearson, and Gloria Johnson joined an organized left-wing gun control demonstration in the well of the chamber, where Jones and Pearson shouted slogans through a shared bullhorn. The lawmakers broke several House rules while encouraging a breach that shut down proceedings in the Republican-led Tennessee House.
The following week, Republicans filed House Resolution 64 to expel the three Democrats, declaring that they had participated in “disorderly behavior” and “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.”
The chamber voted on House Resolution 64 on April 6, ousting Jones and Pearson but sparing Johnson because her actions allegedly weren’t as egregious.
“Their partisan expulsion was extraordinary, illegal and without any historical or legal precedent,” the six attorneys complained in their letter. “We are reviewing these unconstitutional actions to understand how best to remedy them.”
As you are likely aware, both the Nashville Metropolitan Council and the Shelby County Commission have indicated their intent to meet this week to address whether to reappoint Representatives Jones and Pearson, respectively, to the vacancies in Districts 52 and 86. Should those bodies reappoint these duly-elected Representatives under Article II, Section 15(b) of the Tennessee Constitution, such reappointment must lead to the full and immediate restoration of their rights as members of the House.
Although Jones was reinstated late Monday and Pearson is likely to be reinstated on Wednesday, Holder and company still plan to sue the state of Tennessee, the Tennessee House of Representatives, and Speaker Sexton anyways, according to the Tennessee Star.
Holder and his associates from Covington and Burling LLC. represent Jones, and Burch Porter and Johnson LLP of Memphis serve as counsel for Pearson.
According to the Tennessee Star, several Republican state legislators objected to seating Jones after the Nashville Metro Council vote because the Tennessee State Constitution dictates that an expelled state legislator is not eligible to replace himself or herself.
Article II Section 15 of the Tennessee State Constitution states that the legislative body from the county in which the former state legislator resided at the time of his or her election may select an interim successor to the replaced state legislator (emphasis added). That language, they argue, clearly indicates that the interim successor must be a person other than the expelled state legislator.
However, after receiving the letter from Holder and his colleagues threatening legal action, the Tennessee House leadership caved.
“The two governing bodies will make the decision as to who they want to appoint to these seats. Those two individuals will be seated as representatives as the constitution requires,” Sexton’s office said Monday.
In their letter, the Covington attorneys warned that “the House must not now compound its errors by taking any further retributive actions against Representatives Jones and Pearson or their constituents in violation of Article II of the Tennessee Constitution, the very constitutional basis wrongly used to expel the Representatives.”
“The world is watching Tennessee. Any partisan retributive action, such as the discriminatory treatment of elected officials, or threats or actions to withhold funding for government programs, would constitute further unconstitutional action that would require redress,” Holder and the other attorneys declared.
You can read the warning letter here.
Holder is widely considered to be the most corrupt attorney general in U.S. history and was a pioneer in weaponizing the Department of Justice. As a longtime DOJ employee told the Washington Times in 2014, Holder and his subordinates “racialized and radicalized” the department “to the point of corruption” by embedding “politically leftist extremists in the career ranks who have an agenda that does not comport with equal protection or the rule of law.”
He refused to prosecute the black nationalist group, the New Black Panthers, after members of the group, dressed in paramilitary garb, intimidated voters and made racial threats in front of a polling place near downtown Philadelphia during the 2008 election. A few years later, he refused to prosecute the same group when they put a bounty on George Zimmermam’s head after he shot an assailant in Florida.
In a blatant violation of the First Amendment, Holder’s Justice Department in 2013 seized phone records of the Associated Press on the grounds that an article on a terrorist plot in Yemen threatened American security.
The Holder Justice Department also monitored then-Fox News reporter James Rosen following a story he published in 2009, and spied on then-CBS reported Sharyl Attkisson after she broke the story on the Obama regime’s deadly gun-running operation to Mexican drug cartels.
In June of 2012, Holder was held in contempt of Congress for not releasing requested documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious, which resulted in the murders of countless Mexicans and Americans, including U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.