Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Lynch Nomination (Updated April 3, 2015)

Loretta Lynch

On February 26, 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. With a vote of 12-8, GOP Senators Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Jeff Flake, joined the Democrats on the committee in sending the nomination to the full Senate. The Republican opposition cites the Obama administration’s actions on immigration and her belief in the legality of the president’s executive action on immigration– issues which may lead to a contentious vote in the full Senate.

Lynch has had strong bipartisan support, as shown by the letter to the Judiciary Committee signed by 25 former United States Attorneys. (See January 22, 2015 post)

However, the nomination stalled over a dispute between Democrats and Republicans over an abortion provision in a bill to create a fund for victims of sexual trafficking. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to turn to the matter of confirming Lynch until the sex-trafficking bill got off the floor. As of March 18, Lynch has been waiting 129 days for confirmation, longer than the five previous nominees combined. Senators Corker, Alexander and Wicker announced they will opposed Lynch’s nomination, casting doubt as to whether she will have enough votes to be confirmed. NAFUSA lifetime member Rudy Giuliani, on the other hand, is “stepping up his lobbying for Loretta Lynch’s confimation as attorney general”, in a letter to Senator Lindsey Graham, as reported in Politico. Bloomberg Politics reports that Lynch “probably won’t get a Senate confirmation vote until at least mid-April five months after she was nominated, because the chamber plans to spend this week debating its budget proposal.”

But on April 2, Senator Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, said he would vote to confirm Lynch, apparently giving her enough votes for confirmation. She reportedly already has the votes of Republican Senators Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake. Nevertheless, the vote is not expected until mid-April at the earliest.