Loretta Lynch has been on the verge of making history as the first Black woman to hold the post of U.S. Attorney General – but her confirmation has been stalled by Senate Republicans for more than 160 days.
President Clinton appointed Lynch, 55, as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York in 1999, but she left to return to private practice in 2001. In 2010, President Obama appointed her for a second time.
On Nov. 8 the President nominated Lynch to succeed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.A number of Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell,have been blocking the nomination. They insist on passing a delayed anti-human trafficking bill before a vote regarding Lynch takes place. Democrats have blocked the bill because of the language of an abortion-related provision.
According to CNN, on Sunday Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a leading Republican, said a deal to confirm Lynch and clear the anti-human tracking law should take place this week.
“My sense is, over the next 48 to 72 hours, that is going to be resolved, and we will move on to this Iran issue,”Corker said.
This follows President Obama stating on April 17 that he’s had “enough” of the delay.
“What we still have is this crazy situation where a woman who everybody agrees is qualified, who has gone after terrorists, has worked with police officers to get gangs off the streets who has been confirmed twice before by the United States Senate for one of the biggest law enforcement jobs in the country has been now sitting there for longer than the previous seven attorney generals combined,” said Obama during a joint press conference with Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
“And there’s no reason for it. Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the Senate on an issue that is completely unrelated to her. This is the top law enforcement job in the country I have to say there are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it Enough. Enough. Call Loretta Lynch for a vote, get her confirmed This is embarrassing, a process like this.”
Apparently even Jeb Bush, a Republican, has also had enough. When questioned about Lynch’s nomination on April 16 at a town hall-style forum in Concord, N.H., called “Politics and Pie,” he called on Senate Republicans for her confirmation.
“I think presidents have the right to pick their team,” said the former Governor of Florida, who is likely to announce his candidacy for the next Presidential election.
“If someone is supportive of the president’s policies, whether you agree with them or not, there should be some deference to the executive,” Bush said. “It should not always be partisan.”
Members of the Republican Party have been vocal about their distain for Holder, so Bush offered Holder’s departure as an incentive.
“The longer it takes to confirm her, the longer Eric Holder stays as attorney general, look at it that way,” he said.
Also on April 16, according to reports, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said that unless a Senate vote takes place soon, he plans to use parliamentary procedures to force a vote on Lynch’s nomination.
In March, prominent Black women gathered outside of McConnell’s office on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to show support for Lynch and tried to speak with McConnell about the long confirmation process. But the women only had the chance to speak briefly with his chief of staff. Lynch’s sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, has also pushed for a confirmation vote.
Lynch’s confirmation process stands as the longest of any attorney general nominee since the 1980s.