President Obama nominated Loretta Lynch to serve as the next U.S. attorney general 122 days ago, but Republicans have been holding up a confirmation vote in the Senate over a key issue: Obamas executive actions on immigration.
Lynch expressed support for the presidents move on immigration during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January. She told committee members that she read the Justice Departments legal analysis of Obamas new immigration policies and thought it was reasonable.
I dont see any reason to doubt the reasonableness of those views, she said.
Democrats are now accusing Republicans of delaying Lynchs confirmation vote because of her stance on Obamas executive actions on immigration. They note 122 days is the longest any attorney general nominee has had to wait for a confirmation vote in the last three decades.
Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) described Lynch as a tough crime fighter and said a vote over her attorney general nomination should come as soon as possible.
Whatever the case, whatever the crime, Loretta Lynch has protected the innocent and fought the guilty, Reid said. She has been exemplary in defending the interests of the United States and its people. She is the ideal candidate to be Americas top law enforcement officer. Thats why President Obama nominated her 122 days ago.
Reid also said Lynch is as qualified a candidate as I have seen. He praised Lynch for her experience as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York and spoke about how she has vigorously prosecuted drug dealers and violent criminals, corrupt politicians and greedy Wall Street Banks.
Lynch cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote last month, sending her nomination to the full Senate for a final vote. After repeated calls to allow a vote on Lynchs nomination, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday a vote will come next week.
If confirmed, Lynch would become the first African American woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and would succeed Eric Holder, who was the nations first African American attorney general.
Some Republicans, however, say they wont support Lynchs confirmation because of her stance on Obamas executive actions on immigration. That includes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).
In an op-ed published by Politico last month, Cruz said he wanted to support Lynchs nomination given her reputation as a relatively no-nonsense prosecutor. However, he said the answers Lynch gave during her confirmation hearings led him to change his mind.
He criticized Lynch for having extreme, radical positions on Obamas executive actions on immigration orders and other issues.
Senate Republicans have the power to stop this nomination. And we have a choice, Cruz wrote in his op-ed. We can honor our oaths to the Constitutionwe can defend liberty and the rule of lawor we can confirm an attorney general who has candidly admitted she will impose no limits on the President whatsoever.
Meanwhile, Democrats say it is absurd that Republicans have made this about Lynchs stance on Obamas executive actions on immigration, rather than on her qualifications and record as federal prosecutor. Still, they say theyre hopeful theyll reach the 51 votes necessary to confirm Lynch as the next attorney general.