After an unprecedented delay of more than five months, Loretta Lynch was finally confirmed as attorney general on April 23.
Lynch’s nomination was historic from day one, as she is the first African American woman to serve as attorney general. But that significant fact was quickly overshadowed when a vote to confirm her nomination was met with months of delays that eventually became the longest wait for an attorney general nomination since the Reagan administration.
Republicans in the senate stalled the confirmation of Lynch’s nomination to force Democrats to cut a deal on abortion language in an anti-sex-trafficking bill. The legislation was finally approved on April 22, clearing the path for a long-awaited vote on Lynch’s nomination.
“Loretta Lynch is eminently qualified to be attorney general. It should not have taken us so long to bring this nomination up for a vote,” Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said, adding that he “can only hope that Senate Republicans will show her more respect as the attorney general of the United States than she has received as a nominee.”
Many Republicans also expressed concern towards Lynch’s nomination based on her defense of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration last year.
“I don’t have any personal disputes with her character or abilities, but it is clear to me that the president should not nominate and the Congress should not confirm an attorney general who advocates positions that aren’t lawful,” Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions said. “This evidences an unwillingness to enforce the law.”
Lynch was announced in November as the successor to current Attorney General Eric Holder. The 55-year-old was previously known for her work as a highly qualified and respected — though low profile — prosecutor.
“She has spent years in the trenches as a prosecutor, aggressively fighting terrorism, financial fraud, cybercrime, all while vigorously defending civil rights,” Obama said when announcing her nomination. “Loretta might be the only lawyer in America who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists and still has the reputation for being a charming people person."
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