Former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones has been selected by the Biden White House to help guide the president’s selection for the next U.S. Supreme Court justice through the confirmation process.
The so-called “sherpa,” as the role has been termed, helps schedule and guide the nominee through the series of interviews that she – Biden has promised to select the high court’s first Black female justice – will hold with senators, as both the nominee and senators prepare for the confirmation process. Jones will also help prepare her for the barrage of questions that will come from both lawmakers and the media.
Lawmakers praised the selection of Jones, noting his strong work on civil rights issues as a U.S. attorney and the respect he garnered from both sides of the aisle during his relatively brief stint in the senate.
“This is an individual who is well thought of on both sides of the aisle,” Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden told The New York Times about Jones. “He is somebody who understands the moment.”
While serving as U.S. Attorney in Alabama, Jones prosecuted klansmen Thomas Edwin Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for their roles in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Four young girls died in the bombing.
During his three years in the Senate, Jones was able to get more bipartisan legislation passed than any other senator – typically by working with Republicans on complicated issues.
Jones’ selection was seen by many as a sign that Biden wants to remove at least some of the partisan grandstanding that has plagued recent Supreme Court nominees.