NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville Rep. Justin Jones has sued the Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives for “unconstitutional” censorship of him and the views of those he represents.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, seeks declaratory judgment that the House’s expulsion earlier this year was unconstitutional, that the House Rules for the 113th General Assembly are also unconstitutional, and that he be immediately and retroactively restored to all of his previous committee assignments, as well as any damages he may be entitled to, according to the complaint.
“Time and again over the past year Defendants have blocked Representative Jones from expressing views on critical issues that he was elected to express, ensuring that viewpoints dissenting from their own are silenced, neither heard nor spoken,” Jones’ complaint reads. “This censorship violates the constitutions of Tennessee and of the United States and is an anathema to a free, democratic society.”
News 2 did reach out to the Speaker’s office. As of publishing this article, they have not responded.
Jones made several requests for relief.
- Declare expulsion was unconstitutional
- Declare that expulsion won’t affect benefits, seniority status, etc.
- Declare Special Session rules were unconstitutional
- Prevent Defendants (Sexton, clerk, etc.) from punishing Jones with rules in the future
- Reinstate Jones’s rights of committees, seniority, benefits, etc.
- Award compensatory damages and attorney/suit fees (no total listed)
The move sets up a First Amendment showdown between the pair, who have been at each other’s throats since before Jones even got in the legislature, when Jones was prohibited from entering the Capitol for several forms of protest.