When Will Loretta Lynch Be Attorney General? After A Painfully Long Wait, She's Nearly There
When Loretta Lynch finally makes the move down to the nation’s capitol, there are 100 people that owe her a drink. After a dispute over abortion funding in an unrelated bill further delayed for another month the already stalled Senate’s vote to confirm Lynch, who would be the first black female to head the Justice Department, leadership announced Tuesday they had struck a deal. The Senate is expected to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general later this week, according to remarks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made on the Senate floor.
Lynch has been waiting a staggering 164 days and counting for her confirmation vote to come up on the Senate’s agenda. As PolitiFact points out, the only other executive nominee who had to wait longer than Lynch was the controversial Lewis L. Strauss, a big proponent of the atomic bomb. Even though he made many enemies after ordering illegal phone taps on J. Robert Oppenheimer, Strauss became Eisenhower’s pick to head the Commerce Department in 1959.
Lynch is not as polarizing as Strauss, who had headed the Atomic Energy Commission and was voted down by the Senate after an epic 16-day round of confirmation hearings. Lynch is also not nearly in the same league as Reagan’s pick to head the DOJ, Edwin Meese, who currently beats out Lynch at taking the longest time ever to become attorney general. One senator felt so strongly over Meese being unfit to be attorney general that he prepared a huge list of 1,000 lawyers from each party that he thought would be better and unrolled it on the Senate floor.
As Senate Democrats pointed out, Lynch’s wait time to be confirmed as attorney general is more than twice as long as the seven most recent nominees to hold the exalted gig.
The Huffington Post came out with an entertaining infographic yesterday of things that took less time than Lynch’s confirmation, and it’s not pretty. Lynch’s confirmation outlasted the previous marriages of Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears and Carmen Electra combined. Pioneers were able to clear the Oregon Trail and the Founding Fathers were able to write the Constitution in less time than the Senate is taking to confirm Loretta Lynch.
In fact, many throughout the weeks have noted that what makes Lynch's delay unique from previous stalled nominations is that its reasons have less to do with her a nominee and more to do with the Senate's partisan dysfunction.
There weren’t any obvious signs of trouble when the Senate first received Lynch’s confirmation back in November 2014. Lynch’s track record as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York had been impressive and uncontroversial. Then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raced to get a vote on Lynch’s confirmation before the new year and the Republican’s subsequent takeover of the Senate, but failed. Democrats accused the new Senate majority of using Lynch’s confirmation as a scapegoat for their grievances with the Obama administration. Even though Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee had trouble finding as many red flags in Lynch’s track record as her controversial predecessor, Attorney General Eric Holder, many are still iffy about her stance on immigration and remain unconvinced she will lead the Justice Department in a different direction.
Despite her pretty long, rough ride to confirmation, and there should be nothing but a smooth sailing ahead if all of her Lynch’s 51 projected “aye” votes come through. Lynch has the vote of five Republican senators, according to The New York Times. Those in the very lonely “Republicans That Stand With Lynch” crew include Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush even pushed for Lynch’s confirmation at a New Hampshire campaign event last week, detracting from fellow GOP colleagues Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.
One noteworthy person who has called for Lynch’s swift confirmation is Hillary Clinton. Lynch actually lives in the same building in Brooklyn that houses Clinton’s campaign headquarters, so the two are practically part-time neighbors. It’s unknown whether Loretta Lynch and Clinton are best friends or hang out all the time or what, but wouldn’t it be great if they did? Lynch refused last week to commit to a federal probe into Hillary’s e-mail scandal, a move that won’t win her any points with Senate Republicans.
Lynch doesn’t have an Instagram or Twitter account, so it’s not like there’s a feed filled with pictures of her and Hillz doing shots in Ready For Hillary shot glasses while throwing darts at a life-size cut-out of Rand Paul. Which everyone knows is totally happening tonight anyway.