Doug Jones says he will not support Supreme Court nominee before election

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) said on Friday that he will not support confirming a Supreme Court nominee before the November election.

“I regret that I will not support the confirmation of any Supreme Court justice nominee, regardless of who it might be … before the outcome of the Nov. 3 election has been determined,” Jones said in a Facebook Live event.

Jones appeared to leave the door open to supporting a nominee during the lame-duck session, if a winner has been settled, adding that if President Trump wins reelection he would “evaluate any pending or future nominee on their merits and vote for or against the nomination based on that nominee’s qualifications.”

“I will certainly give that nominee a careful consideration and full and fair hearing after the election if Donald Trump is reelected,” said Jones, who is not a member of the Judiciary Committee, which is charged with approving judicial picks before they receive a vote from the full Senate.

Jones is the most vulnerable Democratic senator on the ballot in November, after Democrats flipped the Senate seat during a 2017 special election when he defeated GOP nominee Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who faced past allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.

His opposition to taking up a nominee before the election aligns with other Senate Democrats, who have accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of hypocrisy for vowing to give Trump’s forthcoming nominee a vote but refusing to give a vote in 2016 to Merrick Garland, then-President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

McConnell has defended the decision, arguing that the key distinction is that now both the Senate and White House are controlled by the same party.

McConnell hasn’t announced when he will force a vote. But Republicans are mulling holding confirmation hearings the week of Oct. 12, which would pave the way for a pre-election vote on the Senate floor.

If they are successful it would set a new record for the fewest number of days before the election that a Supreme Court justice will have been confirmed, according to New York Times data. Other nominees have been confirmed faster, but further away from a presidential election.

Tags Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Donald Trump doug jones Merrick Garland Mitch McConnell Roy Moore Supreme Court vacancy

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