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Scheduling Loretta Lynch Vote Should be Top Senate Priority | Commentary

By Marcia D. Greenberger When President Barack Obama nominated Loretta Lynch to be the attorney general of the United States last November, he started by listing her exceptional qualifications, from her academic achievements to the cases she tried as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York – prosecuting terrorists, investigating corruption and vindicating civil rights. He recounted her experiences in the civil rights movement as a little girl in North Carolina, the granddaughter of sharecroppers, perched on her father’s shoulders on the way to his church — experiences that nourished her dedication to the principles of fairness, equality and justice. He also noted that “Loretta might be the only lawyer in American who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists, and still has the reputation for being a charming ‘people person.’” The National Women’s Law Center supports her nomination, and the president’s remarks outlined the qualities that compelled us to do so.  

Lynch’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month confirmed every aspect of the president’s description. During her hours of testimony, she reiterated her fidelity to the rule of law. Her answers demonstrated her exceptional legal expertise, thoughtfulness, and sound judgment. She committed to building relationships with lawmakers and promised to listen to their concerns. Above all, she promised to be a fair and independent voice. In short, she promised to be Loretta Lynch.  

Lynch’s background, qualifications, history and personal qualities not only qualify her to serve as the Attorney General of the United States but also suggest her service, once she is confirmed, will be exemplary. Dozens of individuals and organizations submitted letters in support of her nomination and continue to do so (as former New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly and the International Association of Chiefs of Police did just last week). Last Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved her nomination with bipartisan support. Even the witnesses called by Republicans at the second day of her Judiciary Committee hearing praised her record and reputation and recommended that she should be confirmed.  

At long last, more than 100 days after Obama’s announcement, the Senate is finally ready to vote on this outstanding nominee.  

This should go without saying, but given that the history of Loretta Lynch’s nomination to date suggests otherwise, I will say it:  

Senate leadership should make scheduling a vote on an extraordinary nominee, who would be the first African-American woman to serve as the nation’s foremost law enforcement officer, a priority. And once that vote is scheduled, Senate Republicans should follow the lead of Sens. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jeff Flake of Arizona, the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who approved Loretta Lynch’s nomination last week.  

Marcia D. Greenberger is co-president of the National Women’s Law Center.

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