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Motion to Discharge--S.J. Res. 77

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 9, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I have had the privilege of serving with many, many Senators of both parties and with very many whom I have applauded. Some stand out specially--some for their longevity and some for who they are. Doug Jones stands out for who he is.

I think, in listening to his work as a prosecutor--of course, that is near and dear to my heart in my having been a prosecutor--I had never faced what he had. I think of his discussion of the summation he gave in the trial of the people involved with the bombing of the church in Alabama and the killing and maiming of youngsters. In fact, I had a chance to meet one of the survivors of that with Doug, and I saw how she had felt about him all these years later because he had had the courage to stand up and do something that may not have been popular with some in his State, but that had been the right thing to do. In all of the years I have known him here, what he has done has been the right thing to do.

Now, I have only had one objection about him. He showed me a picture that was taken when this young man, Doug Jones, was working for Howell Heflin--Judge Heflin, as I recall. They were standing there with these gray beards, and this Senator from Vermont asked: Who is the youngster in the picture?

Senator Jones, thank you for bringing that. I know Ann Berry, in my office, got a kick out of that because she had the opportunity to work with you.

We have done things that we have been able to joke about, like being in an airplane, where he was sitting in the front and I was sitting in the back. Fortunately, it was on the ground. Senator Jones hollered out to somebody, one of the military people there: Where is the button for the ejection seat for the back?

It caught my attention.

I have also seen this man sit there and try to discuss legislation. He would ask: How will that help people? I don't want this because it is politically beneficial to me. How will it help people?

I have heard about towns now in Alabama that I had never heard about. I have also heard things he would tell me about that would make me think of towns in Vermont and make me realize we were talking about the same problems. Never once would he say: These are Republicans or these are Democrats. He would say: These are people in Alabama who need help. So we would work on that.

I will speak further about this, but, Senator Jones, I think of you and your wonderful family. I think of the trips you and your wife and my wife and I have taken together, and I feel that I have been a better Senator for knowing you and traveling with you and listening to you. I will miss you, my friend, and I will speak further on this.