Loretta Lynch Has Been Confirmed As Attorney General
After a months-long delay, Loretta Lynch has been confirmed by the Senate as Attorney General, stepping into the role vacated by Eric Holder. President Obama nominated Lynch back in November.
Once a compromise was reached on a human trafficking bill on Tuesday, the Senate said a vote on Lynch would be soon in coming. The vote was 56-43. She is the first African-American woman to occupy the spot.
Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) were among those who joined Democrats to vote in favor of Lynch. Republicans generally opposed her because she supported the President’s executive action on immigration. Politico says the vote was “wider than expected.”
The National Law Journal notes that she’s coming into her position at a time when the country is grappling with tough questions about civil rights and police brutality.
“I know she’ll do a good job because I recommended her to the President for U.S. Attorney twice and for Attorney General once,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said. “In Brooklyn, when she had the most difficult of cases where the police and the community were at loggerheads, she emerged from those cases with both sides—the police and the community—praising her.”
There are also questions about the goings-on within the Department of Justice, such as their “Operation Fast and Furious” gun trafficking program.
But there’s a lot of support pouring in separate from her Congressional allies.
“We commend this long overdue vote and look forward to working with an attorney general who takes to heart the Justice Department’s mission to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten in a statement.
“The United States is lucky to have Loretta Lynch confirmed as our Attorney General,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “From modern-day voter suppression, to a devastating school-to-prison pipeline and escalating police militarization, the United States is confronted with issues that demand urgent attention from our Justice Department’s executive. We trust that Lynch will remain unrelenting in confronting injustices imposed on communities of color, and we look forward to seeing all that she will achieve as our Attorney General.”
And from California Rep. Karen Bass (D), “I look forward to working with Ms. Lynch to build on the important reforms to our nation’s criminal justice system undertaken by Attorney General Eric Holder. Under President Obama, our nation has made important strides in reducing draconian sentences so that our criminal justice system is both just and fair. We have much work to do, and I know that Ms. Lynch will bring a lifetime of experience and sheer intelligence to lead the Department of Justice.”