Jack Johnson: It’s a Very Sad Testament and a Complete Overreach from the Biden Administration to Come in and Sue Tennessee over Legislation

May 5, 2023

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Aaron Gulbransen welcomed Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson to the newsmaker line to comment upon the Biden administration and the DOJ’s lawsuit against the state of Tennessee in response to its gender mutilation of minors’ legislation. 

Gulbransen: On the newsmaker line, a good friend of the show a conservative champion as identified by Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition, Senate majority leader, and my good friend Jack Johnson. How are you, sir?

Johnson: Hey, Aaron. Good morning. Good morning. And let me just say before we get started on the issues, how grateful I am to be a recipient of the Conservative Champion Award. And I want to make sure your listeners know that it was one of the coolest award presentations I’ve ever participated in. Not only receiving the award, which was a great honor but the manner in which it was presented.

The award itself is a massive wrestling belt. And not only were you there to present it to me, but the world-famous Glenn Jacobs, who in his former professional life was a professional wrestler was there to present the award as well. So very well done, and I’m very grateful for that.

Gulbransen: It was a fun event, and we appreciate you and all the work that you do. Of course. Speaking of that, it’s been talked about a little bit last week, one of the laws that you and Leader Lamberth passed, the Biden administration is now suing the state of Tennessee and the DOJ, who has placed our state square in their crosshairs. Can you tell the audience about that?

Johnson: They have, and it’s unfortunate. I will say, Aaron, this is probably not altogether unexpected. We’ve seen this out of the Biden Department of Justice during the Biden administration. And let’s just be very clear. We passed legislation, and my dear friend William Lamberth, who’s the House majority leader, and I sponsored it. It was SB 1.

It was HB 1. It was the very first bill introduced for this 113th general assembly. And the bill’s really quite simple. It says that we’re not going to do things to a child’s body that are irreversible, either medicinally or surgically, based on their gender identity. We’re going to love those kids. We want them to get treatment.

We want them to get the mental health treatment and care that they need, but let’s don’t do things to their bodies that cannot be undone. Aaron, that’s not radical, that’s not extreme. That’s good public policy. And let me point out that I’ve seen polling that 75-80 percent of Tennesseeans support that legislation.

Democrats, liberals, and conservatives across the board can agree that yes, let’s hold off on doing this until you’re an adult. When you turn 18, you’re an emancipated adult in Tennessee. Do what you want to do, but not when you’re a kid. The bill passed overwhelmingly. It’s a great reflection I think that the will and the values of the Tennessee voters and the Tennessee people.

The Biden administration has sued us over that legislation, and we’re going to end up in court, and I think we will prevail. You were talking about our amazing attorney general, Jonathan Skrmetti.

He’s going to defend this lawsuit vigorously, and I think he will prevail. But it’s a very sad testament and a complete overreach from the Biden administration to come in and sue us over this legislation.

Gulbransen: Yes. It is. This is one of those things where it’s not surprising when the Biden administration does it, but it’s also, I think it’s worth talking about in a public manner.
This is obviously speculation a little bit, but what is the motivation for suing the state of Tennessee on this?

Johnson: They’re trying to make some preposterous allegation or accusation that this is somehow discriminatory. That we’re discriminating against trans people, a particular community, and we know that ultimately I think what the left wants to do is to create a new protected class in terms of people who are trans, have gender identity issues, or wish to identify as a different gender than their biological sex at birth. So what are we up to now?

I think 17 or 19 states have passed similar legislation. I’m very proud that Tennessee was a leader in this and one of the very first states to pass a comprehensive bill. So I guess the Biden administration plans to sue all of these states that have passed this legislation.

But I’ll say this, for a president that says he wishes to run for reelection next year for a second term as president of the United States, I don’t think that his Department of Justice suing all these states who have passed this common-sense legislation is a very good move on their part.

Gulbransen: And I would consider this, and I’ve been saying this a fair amount, this lawsuit and a number of other issues that they’re doing as part of the Biden administration and the far-left’s war on children and families. That’s how I would describe it.

Johnson: Absolutely.

Gulbransen: I would like to move on. I’ve credited you a lot for this. There’s a lot going on. There were some red flag proposals made in the wake of the Covenant shooting. I credit you as well as your colleague, Senator John Stevens, and Leader Lamberth over in the House as prime people that I’ve identified as the reason why we didn’t have any progress on a red flag law.

At the end of this, the past regular legislative session, and I know we’ve been talked about ad nauseam, but I actually really wanted to get to it because we talk a lot about procedure, especially since you know so much about it, but what does the Second Amendment mean to you in a personal way? And you’ve been a big defender of it, so I wanted to give you the opportunity to chat about that side of it rather than all the other ongoing stuff.

Johnson: Yes. Thanks, Aaron. I appreciate it. The Second Amendment, much like the other protections that are in the Bill of Rights, what they mean to me is, they are freedoms that are endowed by God. We are born with these freedoms. I think God creates us with a yearning to be free and whether it’s your freedom of speech, freedom of religion, Fourth Amendment protections, or your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms to protect yourself and your family.

These are fundamental rights that are gifted to you by God, not the government. It is the government’s role to protect those freedoms that were given to you by God. And while the United States of America, it’s not a perfect nation, we strive to be a more perfect nation.

We all work towards that every day as best we can. But I think that the United States of America has done the best of any nation in the history of the world in terms of creating a system that protects those gifts that are endowed by God. And we have to jealously protect those freedoms.

And the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, is a fundamental right. It is one of those rights that are endowed by God. And that’s the way I was taught to understand those freedoms and those protections. So now that I have the distinct honor and privilege to be an elected representative in a democratic republic form of government and I take that responsibility very seriously. That it is our job to protect those freedoms that are endowed by God.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jack Johnson” by Senator Jack Johnson. Background Photo “Tennessee Capitol” by Thomas R Machnitzki. CC BY 3.0.