It can be safely argued that when it comes to domestic issues, there is no single position in a president’s administration more important than the Attorney General. We look to our Justice Department for guidance on some of the most important issues of the day, including national security, law enforcement, civil rights and the criminal justice system at large. For the past six years, Eric Holder has served as Attorney General with distinction and strong leadership, and has earned the right to leave the Justice Department on his own terms and with his head held high. President Obama has nominated an outstanding candidate to the position, New York federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch, and it is long past time that the U.S. Senate stops playing political games and confirms her to the position.
Having already been confirmed by the Senate by acclamation in 2000 and again in 2010 to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, it is clear that Lynch’s credentials to serve as Attorney General are impeccable. Per ABC News, Lynch has led a wide range of prosecutions for the government, targeting terrorists, traffickers of illegal immigrants, drug operations and corrupt politicians alike. She has handled cases of police brutality, while maintaining positive and productive relations with police departments. Furthermore, as head of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, she already has extensive experience working with the Justice Department as an advisor to the attorney general on policy and operational issues. Lynch has even volunteered as a war crimes prosecutor in Rwanda, working firsthand to bring perpetrators of genocide to justice.
There is simply no case that Loretta Lynch is unqualified to serve as Attorney General. Both Republican and Democratic leaders have called for a vote to be held on her nomination, one which would undoubtedly result in her confirmation to the position. She has received the backing of the president of theInternational Association of Chiefs of Police, the world’s largest association of police executives. So why can’t this outstanding prosecutor, who would be the first African-American woman to ever lead the Justice Department, receive a vote from Senate Republicans? The only reason is pure, partisan politics.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to bring Lynch’s confirmation vote to the floor until a bill targeting human trafficking is voted on – a bill that has only stagnated in limbo due to Republicans forcing an intrusive and unrelated amendment on abortion into the bill. To tie a vote on Lynch to the bill has no point other than to delay her confirmation. Having cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee with abipartisan vote, there is no justifiable reason to delay her full confirmation vote any further. After all, per BuzzFeed, aides close to McConnell stated that if she cleared the committee, the majority leader wouldn’t delay a full vote any further.
As President Obama told the Huffington Post, “The fact that she has now been lingering in this limbo for longer than the five previous attorney general nominees combined makes no sense. We need to go ahead and get this done.” The Republican Senate ought to heed the words of the president and get this done. Loretta Lynch will be an outstanding Attorney General for the United States, and it is time that she receives the confirmation vote she deserves.