U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch has been waiting to be nominated for U.S. Attorney General for over 4 months, since last November. Find out about the job, who she is, what is causing the delay, the part our own Senators are playing in the delay, and what you can do to move her nomination forward.
What does the US Attorney General do?
The US Attorney General leads the Dept of Justice (DOJ), and is in charge of enforcing the laws of the United States federal government. DOJ includes many law enforcement agencies, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Marshals, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The Attorney General is also the chief legal adviser to the President. Many federal laws are the last defense on the legal rights and futures of women across our country.
How far has US Attorney General nomination gotten?
President Barack Obama nominated Loretta Lynch, a U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of NY, on Nov 8, 2014. Since then, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved her with bipartisan agreement on Feb 26, 2015, with 9 Democrats and three Republican voting for her. The nomination should have gone to the full Senate during the first or second week of March. However, the Senate Majority Leader is refusing to hold the vote.
Many Senators, including North Carolina’s Sen. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis plan to vote against this extremely well qualified North Carolina native. And we can do something about that.
If you know all about Loretta Lynch and the holdups, skip to the ‘What can we do?” section near the end.
Who is Loretta Lynch?
“Loretta Elizabeth Lynch is a career federal prosecutor whose education, temperament and accomplishments as a public servant amply qualify her to be U.S. Attorney General,” according to “It’s Time to Confirm Loretta Lynch,” at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-time-to-confirm-loretta-lynch/2015/03/09/f5edc51e-c67c-11e4-a199-6cb5e63819d2_story.html
Lynch was born and raised in North Carolina and educated at Harvard. “Her legal career demonstrates both breadth and depth of experience, comprising private practice, teaching, and substantial government service. Ms. Lynch has twice served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York,“ according to the National Women’s Law Center.
Why is the Senate involved in her nomination and what is causing the delay?
The reason the Senate is involved at all is that there is an ‘advice and consent’ rule with regard to nominees that says presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts take effect only when confirmed by the Senate. Senators are supposed to ensure that the nominees are qualified and competent, and vote based on that criteria.
According to David Hawkings, “For essentially the first two centuries under our Constitution, senators afforded the president free rein to stock his Cabinet as he chose, except in the most extraordinary circumstances.” Read more about how the “Opposition to Lynch Might Make History” at http://blogs.rollcall.com/hawkings/loretta-lynch-republican-votes/
NC Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis recognize how well qualified she is, according to “NC Sens. Burr, Tillis won’t support Loretta Lynch for attorney general” at http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article11316281.html#storylink=cpy
During the hearing before the vote, Tillis called Lynch someone with “a remarkable track record.” He also said, “she’s done a great job as U.S. attorney.”
Burr said he plans to vote against her because she supports the DOJ lawsuit against North Carolina’s new voter ID requirements, passed in 2013 while Thom Tillis was speaker of the NC House of Representatives. You can read about what many people call the “Monster Voter Id Law” at http://www.democracy-nc.org/downloads/MonsterLaw-IDAug2013.pdf
What can we do?
Take action! Call your Senators, and tell them something like
“I urge you to vote yes on Loretta Lynch’s nomination so that she may begin the important work that awaits her at the Department of Justice.”
“Senators are supposed to ensure that the nominees are qualified and competent, and vote based on that criteria. Loretta Lynch is extremely well qualified for this job. Please stop playing politics with her nomination.”
“Please support the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General. She is extremely well qualified for this job.”
You can make really quick phone calls, or email them. Or better yet, do both!
Your calls won’t take but a minute each (unless you choose to talk to the person answering the phone for longer). Definitely leave your name and city with them and let the Senator’s office write you back.
We are including the Washington DC numbers for North Carolina’s US Senators. You can look our Senators up and call them at their local offices (closer to your homes) instead, following the links we’ve included.
Sen. Richard Burr – Phone: (202) 224-3154
…..Contact info at http://www.burr.senate.gov/contact/email and choose under ‘How can I help you?’ to send an email to comment on legislation (note: his website changed on 3/19/15).
Sen. Thom Tillis – Phone: (202) 224-6342
…..Send a written message through his contact form on
You could also submit messages to our Senators through the National Women’s Law Center, through this NWLC action link.