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White House unveils Supreme Court nomination team

President Biden at an event Feb. 2 to reignite the “cancer moonshot” initiative. (Cheriss May/Reuters)
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The White House is formally tapping three outside advisers who are veterans of politics and communications to help shepherd President Biden’s eventual Supreme Court pick through the Senate confirmation process.

The new team is led by former senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.), whose selection as the Supreme Court nominee’s guide was made public this week. The two others are Minyon Moore, political director in the Clinton White House who is tasked with mobilizing a nationwide constellation of outside groups to build support for Biden’s nominee, and Ben LaBolt, who served as both campaign and White House spokesman for former president Barack Obama. LaBolt will be advising on communications and messaging.

Jones, who will be the nominee’s official guide through the Senate, earned bipartisan plaudits from colleagues in his relatively short tenure as an elected politician on Capitol Hill. He was also a finalist for attorney general in the Biden administration — a job that went to Merrick Garland — and served as U.S. attorney when he won convictions of two Ku Klux Klan members in the 1963 church bombing that killed four Black girls in Birmingham, Ala.

Moore, a principal at the firm Dewey Square Group, has a political background that extends back decades, including on the presidential campaigns of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis. She was a senior adviser on former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, as well as chief operating officer of the Democratic National Committee.

LaBolt, a partner at the communications firm Bully Pulpit Interactive, was the White House spokesman during the efforts to confirm Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan during the Obama administration. He also served as adviser to the Biden-Harris transition.

Jones, Moore and LaBolt will report to White House counsel Dana Remus. The new appointments were confirmed by a person familiar with the coming announcement.

The in-house team of White House officials who are advising Biden as he works through whom he will nominate includes Remus; White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain; Louisa Terrell, the director of legislative affairs; senior adviser Cedric L. Richmond; Reema Dodin, deputy director of legislative affairs; senior counsel Paige Herwig; and Josh Hsu, counsel to Vice President Harris. Andrew Bates, the deputy White House press secretary, is handling press surrounding the vacancy created by the planned retirement of Justice Stephen G. Breyer later this year.

Nearly all are veterans of the Senate, with particular experience in judicial nominations.

Biden has said he will announce his choice, who will be the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court, by the end of February.

“The president’s focus is … choosing from a wealth of highly qualified candidates who bring to bear strong records, credentials and abilities to serve on the court in a lifetime appointment,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

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