The Republican Senate’s Pointless Obstruction Of Loretta Lynch Should Be A Lesson
Well, they finally did it. Today, ten Senate Republicans joined Senate Democrats in finally voting to confirm Loretta Lynch as our next Attorney General, months after President Obama first put forward her nomination last November. This historic vote makes Lynch the first African American woman to become Attorney General of the United States, a milestone for our country and a capstone to her trailblazing, 30-year-long career of fighting for justice. Now that this long, drawn out confirmation process is over, it is worth looking back at the obstruction on display from Senate Republicans.
Lynch had the longest wait time of any recent Attorney General nominee. Despite multiple Republican acknowledgements that Lynch is eminently qualified to be the next Attorney General, she waited 165 days for this confirmation after the President first nominated her. That is months longer than any AG nominee has waited in recent history.
Lynch’s confirmation was obstructed at a pivotal time for our nation. Given the many challenges our communities face, from Ferguson, Mo. to Baltimore, the Department of Justice plays an integral role in repairing relationships and rebuilding trust. We need strong leadership at the DOJ to make this a reality, and Lynch is the perfect leader to follow in the footsteps of Eric Holder’s excellent work. The fact that Senate Republicans took five months to realize this is disgraceful.
The pointless obstruction Senate Republicans displayed on Lynch cannot be the norm. Senate Republicans decided that the best use of everyone’s time would be to tie Lynch’s nomination to completely unrelated legislation in order to score political points. This unnecessary delay demonstrates how in the months to come, they could take any opportunity to slow down progress that must be made, particularly on other executive branch nominees, major legislative work, and judicial confirmations. Hopefully, this episode has shown them that they shouldn’t.
BOTTOM LINE: The Senate finally did the right thing by confirming Loretta Lynch. But this pointless obstruction remains an embarrassment for Senate Republicans and a reminder that there is much more to do to make the Senate a place where we can make progress on all of our priorities.