Obama Nominates Loretta Lynch, First African-American Woman, To Attorney General
After news of his attorney general appointment leaked on Friday, President Barack Obama officially nominated prosecutor Loretta Lynch to replace outgoing United States Attorney General Eric Holder. In a nomination ceremony at the White House on Saturday, the president praised Lynch, who currently serves as the U.S. attorney for eastern New York, as being the most "qualified for the job." Obama, of course, also shared some admiration for Holder, who the president appointed as the nation's leading law enforcement official in 2009.
Holder was the first African-American to serve as the U.S. attorney general, and the Obama administration has just made history yet again: If confirmed, Lynch will be the first African-American woman to hold the U.S. position. Lynch will also be just the second woman to serve as the U.S. attorney general; Janet Reno was the first and only woman to hold the post since the position was created in 1787.
It's pretty hard to be more qualified for the job than Loretta. Throughout her 30-year career, she has distinguished herself as tough, as fair, an independent lawyer who has twice headed one of the most prominent U.S. attorney offices in the country. ... She's successfully prosecuted the terrorists who plotted to bomb the Federal Reserve bank and the New York City subway. She has boldly gone after public corruption, bringing charges against public officials in both parties. ... Loretta might be the only lawyer in America who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists, and still has the reputation of being a charming people's person.
When Lynch took to the podium on Saturday, she thanked the president for "his faith" in her, and Holder for his "friendship and support" and always "leading by example." On receiving the nomination, Lynch said:
No one gets to this place — this room, this podium, this moment — by themselves. ... The Department of Justice is the only cabinet department named for an ideal. And this is actually appropriate, because our work is both aspirational and ground in gritty reality ... I will wake up every morning with the protection of the American people my first thought.
Holder, who has worked with Lynch a number of times throughout his career, also released his own statement on her historic nomination on Saturday. The outgoing attorney general said Lynch was sure to lead the Justice Department with "integrity, honor, and distinction," adding:
Loretta has earned the trust and respect of Justice Department employees at every level, in Washington and throughout the country. She is held in high regard by criminal justice, law enforcement, and civil rights leaders of all stripes. And from her time as a career attorney, prosecuting high-profile public corruption cases, to her leadership of sensitive financial fraud and national security investigations, she has proven her unwavering fidelity to the law – and her steadfast dedication to protecting the American people.
Holder announced his resignation in September. The attorney general spent much of his tenure fighting for civil rights, combating voter suppression and racial discrimination, and has been repeatedly antagonized by the Republican-controlled Congress.
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