Institute of Politics

Doug Jones

Former U.S. Senator from Alabama



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A celebrated prosecutor who brought long-overdue justice to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, Doug has built his career on fighting impossible battles. In 2017, he shocked the political establishment by winning a special election to fill a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama—the first Democrat to do so in 25 years in the state. On Capitol Hill, he quickly built a reputation as a well-regarded and effective legislator, passing more than two dozen bipartisan bills into law in just three years.

Doug’s first job after graduating from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University was as staff counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary for Sen. Howell Heflin (D-AL). Following his stint in Washington, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1980 to 1984. Doug left government service in 1984 and was in the private practice of law in Birmingham, Alabama, until President Bill Clinton nominated him to the position of U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate in November 1997, and he served as U.S. attorney until June 2001. It was while serving in that position that he successfully prosecuted 2 of the 4 men responsible for the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church - finally bringing full justice and closure nearly 40 years after the attack that killed four young girls. Along with taking on the Ku Klux Klan, he indicted domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph and prosecuted other criminals who sought to use fear, hatred, and violence to inhibit the rights of others.

Doug is the author of Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights which recounts a key moment in our long national struggle for equality and the successful prosecution of two Ku Klux Klan members 40 years later.

In 2022, Doug was selected by President Joe Biden to be the Nomination Advisor for Legislative Affairs to help to guide the selection, nomination, and successful confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States. In this role, Doug continued to build upon the important relationships he had established while in Congress to help gain bipartisan support for the President’s nominee.

Today, Doug is of Counsel with ArentFox Schiff, a Senior Distinguish Fellow with Center for American Progress and is involved in a variety of different political and civic organizations. Doug resides in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife, Louise, and dogs, Scout and Dakota. He has three children Courtney (married to Rip Andrews), Carson, and Christopher, as well as two grandchildren, Ever and Ollie.

Seminars

"Politics, the Court & the National Mood: On the Road with Senator Doug Jones"

Since leaving the United States Senate, I’ve traveled the country campaigning for Democrats and speaking to civic groups. I’ve also spent months in D.C. visiting Senate offices to catch up with old colleagues and as “sherpa” for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. I’ve had the view from the ground AND the view from inside and an opportunity to talk to voters and politicians in equal measure. I’ve even spent some time at home in Alabama. I’ll weave the strands of my career from Hill staffer to U.S. Attorney to Senator to road warrior to examine how our politics are meeting the moment, where we are falling short and what we can do about it.

Each week, we’ll start with a brief discussion of the previous week in politics with particular emphasis on where my political travels are taking me leading up to the midterm elections before diving into the topic at hand.

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