In a press conference on Friday, November 7, President Obama announced Loretta Lynch as his nomination to replace the soon-to-be former Attorney General, Eric Holder. Announcements like this on a Friday afternoon, especially the Friday right after an election, tend to make me nervous because it feels like the administration does not want this to hit the news cycle until the following week. This anxiety has prompted this post which is an investigation into Loretta Lynch, who is likely to be the next Attorney General of the United States.
Loretta Lynch, 55, works as a U.S. Attorney in New York. Her qualifications include a B.A. in English from Harvard University and a law degree from Harvard Law. According to the , she is an “experienced prosecutor with deep relationships inside the Justice Department and a long history of litigating political corruption, terrorism, and organized crime cases.” She works on the state level as a representative of New York’s eastern district, and many have commented on the unusual nature of such a promotion as few move from the district level to Department Secretary.
Her current term in New York is not her first term, however. She began this term in 2010, but she was first nominated to the office in 1999 by then president, Bill Clinton. Charlotte Atler of does a good job of reporting the time Lynch spent between these terms in Rwanda working pro-bono cases connected to the war crimes the 1994 genocide.
Nevertheless, each of her terms had to be approved by the Senate, which on both accounts, was held by the Republicans. Joel Pollack of writes that she
would likely sail through confirmation hearings under normal circumstance–i.e. even when Democrats had not gutted the filibuster rule in a cynical act of partisanship, and when the administration had not turned the nation’s top law enforcement office into such a politicized and race-obsessed office.
Later in the article, he notes, as mentioned above in this article, her sound qualifications as one who is familiar “with the nuts and bolts of justice, from terror prosecutions to corporate law and even white-collar defense.” This then naturally begs the question: why, on earth, would President Obama have nominated Eric Holder, who proved to be more trouble than he was worth, ahead of a safer choice like Loretta Lynch? The answer is not a surprising one: politics.
Eric Holder was a good starter for the Obama Administration because he pushed the big policy points and made the sort of ideological moves that fulfilled certain goals. Now, that he is essentially a disgrace, Ms. Lynch is a safe choice to make it through the Senate proceedings, which will prove to be a tougher sell, given that the Republicans gained the majority in the recent midterm elections. She has already passed through two Republican Senates, meaning she is respected enough on both sides of the aisle, and her race and gender are undoubtedly factors in this reasoning as well. In this day and age, it is political suicide to appear to grill someone who is a minority in any respect, whether that be race, gender, sexual orientation. With this logic, it appears that Loretta Lynch is a shoe-in. If the Republicans do not approve her nomination, they will have ruined the potentiality of the first African American female Attorney General. Of course, this would not likely be their intent if they chose not to approve her. She might not make it through because she is openly liberal, or they deem her to be too heavily influenced by personal agendas. These have been valid reasons for approval hearings to reject nominees, but these sound far too reasonable.
This circumstance points out one of the many pervasive issues with the United States’ current political environment. A hard-working African American woman, whose qualifications seem to be fit for the job, is being analyzed as someone who fits the casting call for a female of a racial minority. The irony here is astounding, for those on the left tend to “cry wolf” at racial discrimination, but here lies a classic example of playing the race card to further an agenda. It has been a theme in politics since the civil rights era, if not earlier, and it looks like it’s here to stay.