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Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Senate confirmation vote

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and former Sen. Doug Jones talk in between meetings on March 15 in Washington, DC. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images)

Former Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who served as “sherpa” for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Capitol Hill, pronounced himself “joyous” as he left the Senate chamber following her confirmation vote.

The nominee’s “sherpa” plays a key role in shepherding the prospective justice through the Senate process. 

 “Joyous, as is everybody else. That’s the only way to describe it,” he said.

“It was intense,” he noted of the confirmation process “but it was so much easier because of who she is and the way she presented herself, and she just made it oh-so-much easier.”

“I told folks ‘This nomination has been historic and an inspiration, but she – she – as a person is the inspiration to millions of people,” he said.

When asked how Jackson reacted privately to some of the more aggressive lines of questioning from some members of the Judiciary Committee, Jones said “she was prepared with all those questions coming in and she didn’t take it personally.”

“She said, ‘you know this is just politics, pure and simple. And so I’m going to answer my questions and I’m going to go home and go to bed.’ And then she did. She was grace under fire,” he said. “Here’s the thing – it’s very similar to what she does with judicial philosophy. The first thing she does is, ‘this is not about me. It’s not personal.’ And so I think her whole method of judging helped to do that. This is really amazing.” 

Jones said it was “awesome” to be back with his former colleagues, but said that senators on both sides of the aisle told him the atmosphere on Capitol Hill is “more difficult, it’s a lot tougher, it’s not as much fun” in the years since he left.

“I didn’t really feel that experience, not from my standpoint, but that’s what I’m hearing, so that’s too bad. We need to move back,” he said.

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