After waiting more than five months for confirmation from the U.S. Senate, Loretta Lynch officially took on the role of U.S. Attorney General on April 23 following a 56-43 vote. She replaces Eric Holder, who resigned from the position in September, and is the first black female to fill the position. Ms. Holder was nominated by President Barack Obama on Nov. 8, 2014. Even though the new Attorney General had a long wait for confirmation, in the end, that wait was well worth it. She was sworn in on April 27 and is now the U.S. Attorney General.
Ms. Lynch was the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. Her office is known for prosecuting people accused of terrorism, including those accused of plotting to set off bombs in the subway. She has also overseen the prosecutions of public officials in corruption cases. Ms. Holder has wide support among law enforcement. She is known among her colleagues at the Justice Department as a quiet hard-worker who, unlike many in positions of influence and visibility, avoids the spotlight and the political game.
During confirmation hearings, Ms. Lynch faced challenges from the Republican side of the aisle primarily due to her stance on immigration. She supported President Obama’s executive actions that limited deportations for people living in the U.S. illegally. Frankly, I believe she was correct in her views concerning the president’s actions.
One of her most outspoken critics on the immigration issue, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has announced his intention to run for the GOP nomination for President, was absent during the vote. The biggest surprise “yes” vote from the 10 Republicans who supported her was from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Upon learning of her confirmation, President Obama had this to say:
Loretta has spent her life fighting for the fair and equal justice that is the foundation of our democracy. She will bring to bear her experience as a tough, independent and well-respected prosecutor on key, bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform.
Ms. Lynch, 55, was born in Greensboro, N.C. Her mother was a librarian and her father a Baptist minister who was also active in the civil rights movement. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. She is married to Stephen Hargrove, with whom she has two stepchildren.
It is unusual for a U.S. Attorney to be moved directly into the position of U.S. Attorney General, although Ms. Lynch served as an advisor to former Attorney General Holder, chairing a committee that advises him on policy. Based on her history and performance, I believe that Ms. Lynch will do an outstanding job in her new role. I wish her the very best and will be praying for her.
Sources: Associated Press, al.com, New York Times
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