Doug Jones, the Democrat and former prosecutor who made headlines by defeating Judge Roy Moore in a special election last December, becoming US Senator from Alabama, is at the center of the storm over the US Supreme Court and President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to become its newest Justice.
A reputation as a centrist who believes in bipartisan solutions is part of what made Jones electable in Alabama. He has, consistent with that reputation, neither lined up for nor against Kavanaugh. In his public statements thus far he has only promised his constituents that he will “be diligent in measuring the record and in undertaking an independent review.”
Republicans hold only a 51-49 lead in the Senate. Senator McCain (R-AZ) is thought to be too sick to participate, so that is in effect 50-49. If one Republican flips, and everybody in the Democratic caucus stays together, the lead likewise flips. This of course makes the solidarity of the Democratic caucus a critical matter on such high profile votes.
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Conservative groups called Great America PAC and Great America Alliance have bought broadcast ad time in Alabama for pro-Kavanaugh spots with the aim of putting pressure on Jones to vote to confirm. The pressure on him from both sides is sure to become intense in the months ahead.