The Senate confirmation hearing of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch to replace Attorney General Eric Holder has become another opportunity to attack President Obama’s executive orders and Holder’s management.
This is, in part, a good signal for Lynch, since her background is enough controversy-free to become an obstacle in her confirmation.
Lynch is considered a model U.S. attorney, and has been confirmed in two occasions by many of the Republican senators who now hold her fate in their hands.
The endorsements of New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are also crucial, since they describe Lynch as a person capable to reconcile police and community organizations, especially of minorities. This is in contrast to Holder, who has been seen as a polarizing figure by conservative sectors.
Holder has received plenty of criticism from Republicans, but that has little to do with Lynch. That’s why the parade of people criticizing the Justice Department before the committee was, in practical terms, a futile political exercise.
While differences exist between Holder and Lynch, it is difficult to expect that the Attorney General remain independent of the White House. That would be desirable, but for decades the Justice Department – under both Democrat and Republican governments – has become a defender of the Executive Power.
You cannot demand that Lynch take a stand against the White House that has nominated her, or hold against her that she supports the Justice Department’s legal analysis about President Obama’s executive action on immigration.
Lynch must be evaluated on her background and qualifications, which should secure her confirmation in the Senate. This is not the place to use the process to promote other agendas or to smear a nominee who fulfills all the requirements to be a good Attorney General