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Confirmation hearing set for Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, Doug Jones under fire

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday announced that a three or four day confirmation hearing for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, will begin September 4.

This came hours after Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan questioned Sen. Doug Jones’ (D-Mountain Brook) “inability to make a decision” on backing the nominee and called on the senator to at least meet with Kavanaugh before his confirmation hearing.

Sen. Richard Shelby voiced his strong support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation after meeting with him recently, but Alabama’s junior senator is still undecided, even though a majority of Alabamians polled support his confirmation.

“Senator Doug Jones’ inability to make a decision on casting an Alabama vote for Judge Kavanaugh is disconcerting,” she told Yellowhammer News. “If Senator Shelby can meet with Judge Kavanaugh prior to the hearings on behalf of our citizens, why can’t Senator Jones?”

On Friday afternoon, Jones doubled down in a statement to Yellowhammer News, and Lathan fired right back once again.

“The statement of Ms. Latha[n] is simply silly and demonstrates that she does not understand the process of vetting a Supreme Court nominee,” Jones said. “It is not a question of finding the time, but finding the right time so that our meeting is most meaningful. For me that means waiting to see the questions and answers in Judge Kavanaugh’s hearing before the Judiciary Committee, which just today was set to begin September 4th.”

Conservative efforts are underway calling on Jones to listen to the majority of his constituents and confirm Kavanaugh.

The Judicial Crisis Network’s massive ad buy has been flooding Alabama’s airwaves since July 9, and the NRA started their own ambitious television campaign this week.

Concerned Women for America, a Christian women’s organization, is also focusing grassroots efforts on the state.

Jones concluded his statement by saying, “I certainly intend to meet with Judge Kavanaugh and have reached out to the White House to schedule a meeting as soon as possible following his hearing. This is the exact same process that I have followed with other presidential nominees like Secretary Pompeo, Director Haspel and most recently VA Secretary Wilkie. As I have previously stated, my responsibility when examining Judge Kavanaugh’s extensive political and judicial record is to be as thorough as possible, not to bend to political pressure from folks on either side of the aisle, especially partisans like Ms. Latha[n] who wish to put this nomination on a fast track, rather than one that is thorough.”

Lathan responded to Jones in a statement to Yellowhammer News, mentioning Saturday’s failed takeover of the Alabama Democratic Party’s executive committee which he backed.

“If Senator Jones had time to go to the AL Democratic Party meeting and nominate a state chair who lost, one would think he would put more priority in speaking with a SCOTUS nominee who is going to win his confirmation,” Lathan said.

“There is no reason for Senator Jones not to meet with Kavanaugh prior to the hearing like Senator Shelby did – none,” she concluded.

The final part of Jones’ statement above notably tracks with what he told AL.com last week, when reminiscing about former President Barack Obama’s final appointment to the Supreme Court not being confirmed.

“If it is something that could have and should be rushed, then we could have had Merrick Garland on the bench two years ago,” Alabama’s Democratic Senator said.

The White House noted Friday that the Senate has already reviewed more documents than for any other nominee to the Supreme Court in history, and there are still three more weeks to go before the hearing.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn