Democrats Blast ‘Back of the Bus’ Status for Loretta Lynch (Video) (Updated)

Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:11am

Updated 5:58 p.m. | A top Senate Democrat has accused the GOP forcing Loretta Lynch to “sit in the back of the bus” by delaying the vote on her confirmation.  

“The fact is, there is no substantive reason to stop this nomination,” Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said in a Wednesday morning floor speech blasting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for prioritizing pending anti-human trafficking legislation.

Rosa Parks statue  joined Statuary Hall collection in February 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Rosa Parks statue joined Statuary Hall collection in February 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“And so Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar,” Durbin continued. “That is unfair. It’s unjust. It is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate.”  

The lag time on Lynch, who has waited longer for a vote than any attorney general nomination in the past 30 years, has also drawn the ire of the White House. Democrats say no one has found any legitimate problem with her record in New York, and have started suggesting bigotry is to blame. There are fears further delay could cost Lynch more Republican votes.  

Durbin’s bus remarks refer to the civil rights hero whose likeness is prominently displayed in Statuary Hall. A statue of Rosa Parks was installed on Feb. 27, 2013 , becoming the first representation of an African-American woman in the Capitol.  

The floor speech led to criticism from the Republican side, which drew comparisons to Democratic objections to President George W. Bush’s nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to a seat on the Circuit Court of Appeals based in the District of Columbia.

Rogers Brown had been filibustered but was ultimately confirmed by the Senate as part of the 2005 “Gang of 14” agreement that also prevented, for some time, the use of the “nuclear option” to change the Senate’s nomination rules.  

The delay in confirming Lynch has the effect of keeping in place Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.  

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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