Well, it’s finally happened. After many contemptible delays, the United States Senate finally took up Loretta Lynch’s nomination today and voted to confirm her as the nation’s next Attorney General, which means that incumbent Eric Holder can finally pack his bags and leave office, as he has wanted to do for many months.
A relieved President Barack Obama hailed the vote.
“Loretta has spent her life fighting for the fair and equal justice that is the foundation of our democracy,” the President said in a statement.
“As head of the Justice Department, she will oversee a vast portfolio of cases, including counterterrorism and voting rights; public corruption and white-collar crime; judicial recommendations and policy reviews – all of which matter to the lives of every American, and shape the story of our country.”
“She will bring to bear her experience as a tough, independent, and well-respected prosecutor on key, bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform. And she will build on our progress in combatting newer threats like cybercrime. Loretta’s confirmation ensures that we are better positioned to keep our communities safe, keep our nation secure, and ensure that every American experiences justice under the law.”
The U.S. Senate’s Democratic caucus voted in unison to confirm Lynch, joined by Bernie Sanders and Angus King, the two independents who caucus with them.
Ten Republicans crossed over to provide the votes needed for Lynch to win a majority. The remaining Republicans voted nay.
Voting Aye: Democrats Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray (WA), Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT)
Voting Nay: Republicans Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (ID), Steve Daines (MT), Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (AK)
The ten Republicans who crossed over to back Lynch on confirmation were Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, Thad Cochran of Missisippi, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ron Kirk of Illinois, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky (showing leadership for a change), Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Rob Portman of Ohio.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas did not participate in the final vote (he was the only senator who was absent), but nevertheless lambasted Mitch McConnell from afar for lining up votes for cloture and then for voting to confirm Lynch.
The vote on cloture was 66-34. Cruz participated in that vote.
Even though Republicans now have the U.S. Senate majority, Cruz is still completely uninterested in governing. Without question, he’s about the furthest from presidential material that the Republicans have, with the possible exception of Donald Trump, who is a complete and utter joke.
We extend our congratulations to Loretta Lynch, America’s first black female attorney general. We look forward to seeing her assume her new duties.