Is the Loretta Lynch Nomination Unraveling?

By Ferrechio, Susan | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, March 18, 2015 | Go to article overview

Is the Loretta Lynch Nomination Unraveling?


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


Loretta Lynch, President Obama's attorney general nominee who once appeared to be on a glide path to confirmation, is now a vote away from losing the job after months of delay, thanks mostly to her views on illegal immigration.

Senate Republicans leaders have postponed a confirmation vote on Lynch, who was nominated more than four months ago. And each passing day has generated another GOP "no" vote, even from Republicans who typically would be amenable to approving Lynch, who is now serving as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and is highly regarded for her legal mind, job performance and personal appeal.

Among those who are uncertain of Lynch's fate is Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a staunch backer of Lynch.

Just a few weeks ago, Hatch told the Washington Examiner Lynch would easily be confirmed by the Senate.

Now, he's not so sure.

"I don't know," Hatch said, when asked if Lynch has the votes to pass. "All I can say is I'm for her."

The latest Republican rejections came Tuesday from Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, both of Tennessee. The two lawmakers have backed Obama nominees in the past, including current Attorney General Eric Holder, who won confirmation by a vote of 75-21.

Like other Republicans who said they will oppose her, Corker pointed to Lynch's support for President Obama's recent executive actions on immigration -- specifically, a policy that will allow millions of illegal immigrants to get work permits and some federal benefits.

Lynch expressed her support for Obama's directive during her confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, telling the panel she believes illegal immigrants have a right to work in the United States.

"I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that's shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here," Lynch said at the Jan. 28 hearing.

"And certainly, if someone is here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace."

Lynch's perspective on illegal immigration has helped to slowly unravel her support in a GOP-led Senate that has grown increasingly angry over Obama's executive actions.

"The job of the U.S. attorney general is to enforce federal laws as written, not as the administration wishes they were written," Corker said. "While I believe Ms. Lynch is an impressive attorney and a committed public servant, nothing revealed during our personal meeting or at her confirmation hearing has assured me that she will be an independent attorney general and refrain from selective enforcement of the law, and therefore I will not be supporting her confirmation."

Corker's decision to vote against Lynch follows other Senate Republicans who might have backed Lynch under different circumstances. …

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