The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 to approve Loretta Lynch as the next United States Attorney General. If confirmed, Lynch will succeed soon-to-be resigned Eric Holder and would become the first African-American female to fill that position. Lynch earned votes from all nine Democratic senators on the committee, as well as three cross-over votes from Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jeff Flake (R-Az).
Flake, one of the Republicans to cross party lines, stated, “I’ve always felt that it’s my position here to try to determine if somebody’s qualified for the position, not if I agree with every position that they take. I think she is eminently qualified.” Of note, Senator Chuck Grassley, who co-sponsored the modern False Claims Act, opposed her nomination.
The next step towards confirmation of President Obama’s nomination will be a full vote by the Senate, expected in late March. Lynch will once again require bipartisan support, needing support from at least four Republicans to trigger a tiebreaker vote by Vice President Joe Biden, or five Republican votes to reach a simple minority without Biden’s vote. Lynch is expected to obtain the votes she needs to get through the Senate vote, but has faced increasing opposition in recent weeks related to her statements in support of President Obama’s immigration reform actions.
We will continue to monitor and post about the process of confirming the next U.S. Attorney General.