Loretta E. Lynch was confirmed Thursday as the 83rd U.S. Attorney General following a months long wait in a bitter debate that had nothing to do with her candidacy, reports say.
The Senate voted 56 to 43, with 10 Republicans for her confirmation, according to The New York Times.
Democrats applauded the confirmation after Lynch waited more than five months for the Senate to vote, prompting President Barack Obama last week to call the delay “embarrassing.” Black congressional leaders and Vice President Joe Biden accused the mostly White male Republican leadership of mistreating Lynch because she is a Black woman.
“It’s about time Senate Republicans finally came to the table and allowed a vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as our next attorney general,” Michael Tyler, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said in statement sent to NewsOne. “Instead of working to ensure that our justice system serves its citizens to the best of its ability by swiftly confirming Lynch, Republicans chose to delay her confirmation for longer than any attorney general nominee in over three decades for purely political purposes. As the president noted, this was embarrassing and it is a clear demonstration of what Republican leadership looks like.”
The 55-year-old veteran New York prosecutor replaces Eric H. Holder Jr., 64, who in September announced plans to step down from the position after six years.
Her confirmation took longer than that for all but two other nominees for the office: Edwin Meese III, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan, and A. Mitchell Palmer, who was picked by President Woodrow Wilson, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Republicans have found themselves in a quandary for months. They longed to replace Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and they agreed that Ms. Lynch was qualified for the job. But they opposed her because Ms. Lynch defended President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
What’s more, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and majority leader, had held up the nomination until the Senate voted on a human trafficking bill, a process that dragged on for weeks. The measure passed on Wednesday by a vote of 99 to 0.