In early November, President Obama announced that Loretta Lynch was his nomination to take the Attorney General reins from Eric Holder. In another vote of confidence that women are capable, smart human beings, Obama is lined up to nominate Sally Quillian Yates as the deputy attorney general. If both of the nominations are confirmed, it will be the first time two women have run the Department of Justice.
Yates already has a distinction as a trailblazer. In 2010, she became the first female U.S. attorney in Atlanta, a position she still holds today. She also served as the vice president of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee and prosecuted Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph.
Now Yates must go before the Senate, who will approve or reject her nomination early next year. If she is confirmed, Yates will be the second deputy attorney general. The last — and only — woman to take the position was Carol Dinkins during the Reagan administration. Similarly, if confirmed to the attorney general position, Lynch will also only be the second woman in the DOJ position. Janet Reno, who served during Bill Clinton's first term, was the first female to become AG.
So what will happen if there are two women in these roles? Will the government explode?!
Probably not! But it's seriously about time, DOJ. I know that the second woman to take any high-ranking office doesn't have quite the same ring as being the OG. But let's take a moment to really think about how significant this would be.
The U.S. Department of Justice was formed in 1789. There have been 82 attorneys general since its formation, only one of which was a woman. That means that women have accounted for 1.2 percent of office holders. The deputy position was created in 1950, and the first person held the office in 1951. Since then, 34 people have held the position, which means that the sole woman to be confirmed in the position accounts for 2.9 percent of the deputy AGs.
So, now are you getting why this is a big deal?
The last hurdle to making history is the Senate confirmation that both Yates and Lynch must face next year. And although some Republicans have voiced opposition to both of the women, it seems likely that they will get the Senate confirmation votes that they need to assume office.
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