On Thursday, Loretta E. Lynch was chosen as the country’s first African-American female attorney general by the U.S. Senate. Lynch, a counter-terrorism prosecutor, will serve in the role of the top law enforcement officer under President Barack Obama’s administration.
Leading the final vote tally by 56-43, she won with 10 Republicans voting in her favor. Her election came after a long time with the Senate’s involvement in a quarrel over the abortion language in a human trafficking bill.
According to the Congressional Research Service, confirmations of only two nominees took longer than Lynch’s; Edwin Meese III, who got his nomination from President Ronald Reagan, and A. Mitchell Palmer, who was selected by President Woodrow Wilson, as reported by The New York Times.
The Democrats said Lynch’s confirmation took longer than the collective confirmations of previous attorney generals.
Lynch will succeed Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who the Republicans longed to replace.
Holder said he was “pleased” with Lynch’s confirmation.
In a statement, he said, “I have known and worked closely with Loretta for many years, and I know that she will continue the vital work that this Administration has set in motion and leave her own innovative mark on the department in which we have both been privileged to serve,” as reported by The Guardian.
Obama said in a statement, “Today, the Senate finally confirmed Loretta Lynch to be America’s next attorney general -– and America will be better off for it.
“Loretta has spent her life fighting for the fair and equal justice that is the foundation of our democracy.”
According to CNN, the Eastern District of New York, for which Lynch served as a U.S. attorney twice, has dealt with the most number of terrorism cases since 9/11. In November, Obama nominated Lynch by commending her work regarding the prosecution of terrorists planning to strike the Federal Reserve Bank and the New York City subway.
Tim Heaphy, a former US attorney for the Western District of Virginia who also served under Loretta Lynch on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, regarded her as a good listener and an excellent consensus builder.
He said, “In that [attorney general] job you are at the center of so many of the emerging, significant, pressing issues not only in this country but around the world. There’s probably no job in government as diverse and challenging as being attorney general of the United States.
“She will be good at getting people to work well together. I think that’s a strength of hers. I saw that on the committee.”
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