Tennessee House Votes To Expel 2 of 3 Dems, Both Black, Over Gun Protest

Tennessee House Votes To Expel 2 of 3 Dems, Both Black, Over Gun Protest

Liz Crampton for POLITICO reports that Tennessee Republicans voted on Thursday to expel two Black freshman lawmakers, Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, for peacefully protesting in a gun safety demonstration, yet declined to remove a third Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Gloria Johnson who is white. Johnson told reporters of the matter: “It might have to do with the color of our skin.” Following the final vote that unseated Pearson, the public viewing gallery “exploded into screams of ‘fascists’ and ‘shame on you.’” In an interview with Democracy Now, Justin Jones highlighted that a former member who admitted to being a child molester, Rep. David Byrd, was not expelled, nor was current Rep. David Hawk, who was charged with domestic violence. Jones also called attention to the fact that Tennessee is the birthplace of the Ku-Klux Klan. Last week’s shooting in Nashville led thousands of students to protest nationally.

Trump’s Charges Are About Business Records. They’re Also About How He Treats Women

Barbara Rodriguez and Mel Leonor Barclay for 19th News report that Donald Trump called the investigation into his alleged $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels a “witch hunt.” The authors write that the investigation and Trump’s reaction have put a spotlight on his history with women. Trump has repeatedly used crude terms to describe women, such as when he said former Fox News host Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” after moderating a debate. PRRI’s CEO Melissa Deckman, Ph.D., stated: “Some people are already saying, ‘the Clinton-Lewinsky affair is the relevant implicit reference point, and if Clinton could get away with it, then it would be unfair partisanship if Trump did not get away with it now.’” PRRI research finds that 34% of Americans agree that “these days, society seems to punish men just for acting like men.”

Supreme Court Won’t Enforce West Virginia Law Banning Trans Athletes From Girls’ Teams

Nina Totenberg for NPR reports that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene Thursday in an ongoing case involving West Virginia’s law banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports teams at school. The decision came on its emergency docket, nicknamed the “shadow docket” because decisions are made with little to no explanation. Totenberg writes that West Virginia’s law was challenged by a 12-year-old middle school transgender girl named Becky Pepper-Jackson, who has been on the girls’ track and field teams for three sports seasons. Her lawyers have said she was “welcomed by teammates and coaches” and has “harmed no one.” Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education announced a proposed changeto Title IX yesterday that would make it illegal for schools to broadly ban transgender students from sports teams that align with their gender identity.

Justice Clarence Thomas Accepted Several Luxury Trips Paid For by GOP Megadonor

Tierney Sneed for CNN reports that Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, conservative activist Ginni Thomas, have gone on multiple luxury trips involving travel subsidized by and stays at properties owned by a GOP megadonor Harlan Crow according to a new ProPublica report. The report comes amid calls for Congress to investigate potential ethical lapses. Furthermore, these trips were not disclosed on Thomas’ public financial filings with the Supreme Court. ProPublica found that Thomas accepted travel hospitality from Crow to places like Indonesia, New Zealand, and California. Sneed writes that Thomas is the senior-most justice on the court and an intellectual leader of the current 6-3 conservative majority who has come under scrutiny for the political activities of Ginni Thomas’ in former President Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Crow, who has contributed more than $10 million in publicly disclosed political contributions, has a history  of “deep connections to Republican politics.”

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Read PRRI’s full report “A Christian Nation? Understanding the Threat of Christian Nationalism to American Democracy and Culture” here.