Nashville Metro Council to Vote on Interim Successor to Former State Rep. Justin Jones

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The Nashville and Davidson County Metro Council is scheduled to meet Monday evening for the purpose of voting on an interim successor to former State Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville).

Jones was expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives on Thursday in a 72 to 25 vote for breaking numerous rules of the House one week earlier on Thursday, March 30, the day over a thousand protestors rioted at the State Capitol and attempted to enter the chamber of the House of Representatives by force.

Former State Rep. Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) was also expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives on Thursday on the same charges, though State Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) missed expulsion that day by one vote, 65 to 30, because seven Republicans determined that she broke fewer rules of the House than Jones or Pearson.

Article 2, Section 15 of the Tennessee State Constitution specifies the procedure for filling a vacancy in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Section 15. Vacancies. When the seat of any member of either House becomes vacant, the vacancy shall be filled as follows:

(a) When twelve months or more remain prior to the next general election for legislators, a successor shall be elected by the qualified voters of the district represented, and such successor shall serve the remainder of the original term. The election shall be held within such time as provided by law. The legislative body of the replaced legislator’s county of residence at the time of his or her election may elect an interim successor to serve until the election. (emphasis added)

The Tennessee State Constitution explicitly uses the term “successor” to identify who may be elected to serve the remainder of the original term, which in the case of former State Rep. Jones extends to January 2025, the date at which members of the Tennessee House of Representatives elected in the November 2024 general election will be sworn in as members of that body for the two year term that will conduct legislative sessions in 2025 and 2026.

By Michael Patrick Leahy

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