America is waiting for the confirmation of Loretta Lynch to become the first African American female Attorney General. The Brooklyn prosecutor is standing on the threshold of history following in the footsteps of Attorney General Eric Holder, who became the first Black AG.
The Senate Judiciary Committee recently voted to advance her nomination for a full vote and many Black advocates are urging a quick confirmation process.
When Lynch is named officially as the AG, it will have a tremendous impact on the movement both for criminal justice reform and getting more people of color in the Justice Department.
“We commend the members of the Judiciary Committee who voted today to advance the long overdue nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General of the United States, especially those Republican members who brushed aside partisan rhetoric to support this historic and superbly qualified nominee,” said Wade Henderson, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights. “We hope the reasoned voices of Senators Orrin Hatch, Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham will resonate with their Republican colleagues as the nomination moves to the Senate floor. Lynch has been a strong, independent prosecutor who has twice headed one of the most important U.S. Attorney’s offices in the country and had decades of experience as a lawyer and a leader.”
Henderson said it is also worth noting that “not a single witness at her confirmation hearing said she should not be confirmed. Lynch will be an exceptional Attorney General who will also make history as the first African American woman to hold the office.”
He added, “Continuing to delay this nomination and using it as a proxy for policy disagreements with the president is anathema to the Senate’s solemn obligation to provide ‘advice and consent’ on nominees. We urge the full Senate to take up this nomination as soon as possible and to vote overwhelmingly to confirm Loretta Lynch.”
G.K. Butterfield, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, urged a swift confirmation process for Lynch.
“In addition to having the perfect set of professional credentials, Loretta Lynch possesses high moral character and integrity. She is strong in her faith and demonstrates a love for her country in both her work and in the community,” Butterfield said.
The North Carolina Democrat called on Republicans to stop playing politics with Lynch’s confirmation.
“The politics that Republicans have played with Ms. Lynch’s nomination is deplorable. Ms. Lynch’s nomination has been pending for more than 100 days. During this time she has been open and transparent, answering hundreds of questions requested by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Opposition to her nomination is nothing more than a political ploy by Republicans to once again use any means necessary to show their disdain for the president,” Butterfield said. “However, I’m confident that the full Senate will confirm Loretta Lynch, a daughter of North Carolina, as the next Attorney General of the United States.”
The national NAACP in a statement said Lynch will defend civil rights.
“After a careful review of Ms. Lynch’s record and reputation, the NAACP is more convinced now than ever that she will make a stellar and effective U.S. Attorney General. She has the proven extraordinary qualifications to be both fair and tough,” the organization said. “Her track record with the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York demonstrates her extraordinary legal intelligence and courage, as well as her intolerance for crime and violence. Furthermore, her personal experiences as a child growing up in North Carolina to a fourth-generation Baptist minister and a mother who picked cotton so her daughter could have a better life are an inspiration to all of us.”
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), whose storied history has produced many stalwarts for civil rights including Eric Holder, said it has strongly endorsed Lynch to follow in the footsteps of Holder.
In a letter to the Judiciary Committee, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill said, “Lynch is an extraordinary candidate to lead the Justice Department at this moment in time. Growing up amidst the civil rights struggles of the 1960s has provided her with a unique perspective of the challenges facing our country in fulfilling our democratic ideals and of the vital role that our federal government plays in ensuring equal justice for all.”
“For nearly six decades, LDF has worked alongside the Justice Department and the Civil Rights division to ensure that our nation lives up to its promise of equality for everyone,” Ifill said. “Indeed, the Civil Rights Division has often provided the best hope to racial and ethnic minorities in the quest for equal justice.”
Ifill said Lynch has earned the respect of her peers and lawyers across the board.
“Ms Lynch is known for her perseverance and adherence to the rule of law. She has earned the respect of a bipartisan array of lawyers, law enforcement organizations and civil rights groups,” Ifill said. “As the United States Attorney she prosecuted brutal hate crimes, including the firebombing of mosques and Hindu temples, and reached a comprehensive settlement with a Long Island police deparment to improve their handling of violent hate crimes against Latinos.”