After a lengthy delay marred by politics and the usual Washington hubris, Loretta Lynch has finally been confirmed as the next Attorney General of the United States on Thursday (April 23). Ms. Lynch won the Senate approval with a vote of 56-43.
Lynch, a United States Attorney General in New York, was pegged to replace the outgoing Eric Holder’s spot since last November. After enduring racist criticism and the long wait despite her flawless record as a prosecutor, Lynch’s confirmation makes her the first Black woman to hold the nation’s top Attorney General post. Holder issued a statement earlier today praising Lynch’s past work as he’s done many times in the past.
From Holder’s office:
At every stage of her career, Loretta has earned the trust and high regard of allies and adversaries alike, both in Washington and throughout the country. She is respected by law enforcement officers, civil rights leaders, and criminal justice officials of all political stripes. In every case and every circumstance, she has demonstrated an unfailing commitment to the rule of law and a steadfast fidelity to the pursuit to justice.
“I have known and worked closely with Loretta for many years, and I know that she will continue the vital work that this Administration has set in motion and leave her own innovative mark on the Department in which we have both been privileged to serve. I am confident that Loretta will be an outstanding Attorney General, a dedicated guardian of the Constitution, and a devoted champion of all those whom the law protects and empowers. I congratulate her on her confirmation, and I look forward to all that the Department of Justice will do and achieve under her exemplary leadership.”
Shortly after, President Barack Obama issued a statement of his own:
Today, the Senate finally confirmed Loretta Lynch to be America’s next Attorney General – and America will be better off for it. Loretta has spent her life fighting for the fair and equal justice that is the foundation of our democracy. As head of the Justice Department, she will oversee a vast portfolio of cases, including counterterrorism and voting rights; public corruption and white-collar crime; judicial recommendations and policy reviews – all of which matter to the lives of every American, and shape the story of our country.
She will bring to bear her experience as a tough, independent, and well-respected prosecutor on key, bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform. And she will build on our progress in combatting newer threats like cybercrime. Loretta’s confirmation ensures that we are better positioned to keep our communities safe, keep our nation secure, and ensure that every American experiences justice under the law.
Much of the delay in getting confirmation done came by way of the Republican establishment who valued Lynch’s qualifications in a bid to replace Holder, but punished her because of her defense of President Obama’s immigration policies. Obama has been vocal in urging the Senate to hurry the confirmation along.