After a delay of more than five months, former NYC federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch was finally confirmed last week as the 83rd U.S. Attorney General. Exciting for sure as Lynch is the first African-American woman to hold the post.
But Lynch is facing a mountain of difficult issues to tackle in her new role, in which she replaces much-lauded and much-criticized Eric Holder. From fighting terrorism to preventing cyber attacks to determining banks manipulated currency markets to help clients avoid U.S. taxes, Lynch will have a full plate. But then add to this the issue of police brutality against minorities such as the recent death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore at the hands of police, Lynch will have to handle an explosive situation. In fact, Lynch will step into the Justice Department current probe over whether excessive force was used against minorities violates their civil rights.
She will also have less time in office than her predecessor, who held the post for six years. Obama has just 21 more months in office, leaving Lynch will little time to make her mark.
“She inherits a Justice Department consumed by efforts to stop the flow of Islamic State recruits to Syria and prevent destructive computer crimes against American corporations. And she arrives with the department at the center of an ongoing national dialogue on relations between police and minority communities, something she pledged at her confirmation hearing to address,” reports NBC New York.
In her remarks after being sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden, Lynch pinpointed her priorities. “We can protect the most vulnerable among us from the scourge of modern-day slavery — so antithetical to the values forged in blood in this country,” she said. “We can protect the growing cyber world. We can give those in our care both protection from terrorism and the security of their civil liberties.”
It is obvious Lynch is used to heavy workload. In her prior role as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she handled one of the busiest Justice Department offices in the entire country from 2010 until her nomination by Obama. And in the NYC post, she had to tackle cases against terrorists, cybercriminals and elected officials as well as the civil rights investigation arising from the death of Eric Garner, a Black Staten Island resident who died while in a chokehold by a white police officer.
The hardest part of Lynch’s new job, however, might be building relationships on Capitol Hill, especially with Republicans who help up her nomination.
Lynch will also have a large staff to manage. “Lynch presides over a sprawling department made up of 40 organizations including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an overburdened Civil Rights Division, the FBI, the U.S. Parole Commission and the Anti-Trust Division,” reports Reuters.
Lynch will oversee the Justice Department’s annual budget of $26 billion and its 116,000 employees.
Seems like a major undertaking, but Lynch sounds more than ready and will walk her own path. As she told lawmakers in January, “If confirmed as attorney general. I will be myself. I will be Loretta Lynch.”