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Washington — Former Democratic Senator Doug Jones of Alabama has been selected to guide President Biden’s yet-to-be-named Supreme Court nominee through the confirmation process, a source familiar with the matter told CBS News. 

As the pick’s so-called “sherpa,” Jones will be responsible for escorting the eventual nominee to meetings with senators in preparation for confirmation hearings. Typically, sherpas have a deep familiarity with how the Senate and Senate Judiciary Committee work. Jones’ selection was first reported by The New York Times

Jones isn’t an unexpected choice. He served as a senator from Alabama from 2018 to 2021, and was the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 1997 to 2001. As a prosecutor, he won convictions against two members of the Klu Klux Klan for the deadly 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Senator Doug Jones in the Capitol on Wednesday, November 6, 2019.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Mr. Biden has said he’ll soon name a Black woman to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Stephen Breyer, who has said he will retire at the conclusion of the court’s current term if a successor is confirmed. The president has been reviewing resumes, although it’s unclear when he will begin interviewing potential candidates in person. 

Recent sherpas included former Senator Kelly Ayotte for Justice Neil Gorsuch and former Senator Jon Kyl for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House intends to have a team in place before a nominee is named, but declined to confirm whether Jones is the pick for sherpa.