Senate to Loretta Lynch: How Are You Different Than Eric Holder?

By Ferrechio, Susan | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, January 28, 2015 | Go to article overview

Senate to Loretta Lynch: How Are You Different Than Eric Holder?


Ferrechio, Susan, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


President Obama's nominee to succeed Eric Holder as the next U.S. attorney general promised the GOP Senate majority she would foster "a new and improved relationship" with Congress if confirmed.

Loretta Lynch arrived on Capitol Hill on Wednesday flanked by close family members and friends and was introduced with effusive praise from New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, both Democrats.

But Republicans, in charge of a confirmation proceeding for the first time in eight years, set a different tone.

After years of acrimony between GOP lawmakers and Holder's Department of Justice, which Republicans say acted as a political arm of President Obama, they demanded to know whether Lynch planned do things differently.

"Over the last few years, public confidence in the Department's ability to do its job without regard to politics has been shaken, with good reason," Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R- Iowa, told Lynch.

Lynch, in her opening remarks, promised lawmakers that she is committed to upholding the constitution.

"It is that document and the ideals embodied therein to which I have devoted my professional life," said Lynch, who is currently the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

"If confirmed as attorney general, I pledge to you and the American people that the constitution, the bedrock of our system of justice, will be my lodestar as I exercise the power and responsibility of that position."

Lynch's confirmation is all but assured, Republicans have signaled. Lynch is widely respected by both parties and has already been confirmed twice by Congress for lower appointments. If confirmed, Lynch would become the first black female U.S. attorney general.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a longtime member of the Judiciary panel, called Lynch's opening statement "the best" of any she has heard.

While lawmakers found little to criticize about Lynch's own record, Republicans zeroed in on their frustrations with the current Justice Department and with Obama's recent executive actions on immigration, which they believe are unconstitutional.

Grassley asked Lynch if she believed Obama has "the legal authority" to carry out a November executive action that provides millions of illegal immigrants legal access to work permits and some federal benefits. …

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Senate to Loretta Lynch: How Are You Different Than Eric Holder?
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