The Senate is expected to begin the confirmation process early next year on the nomination of federal prosecutor Loretta E. Lynch, President’s Obama’s choice to succeed U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
Lynch, nominated Nov. 8, would be the first African-American woman to serve as U.S. attorney general if she is confirmed by the Senate, which will shift from Democratic to Republican control for the 114th Congress. Her confirmation hearings will be held before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is will be chaired by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).
Grassley, who congratulated Lynch on her nomination, said, “As we move forward with the confirmation process, I have every confidence that Ms. Lynch will receive a very fair, but thorough, vetting by the Judiciary Committee. U.S. attorneys are rarely elevated to this position, so I look forward to learning more about her, how she will interact with Congress, and how she proposes to lead the department.”
Lynch was easily confirmed in 2010 as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, a position she also held from June 1999 to May 2001. She was a partner at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson between her two U.S. attorney appointments.
A 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, Lynch began her career as a litigation associate at the law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel before joining the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York to prosecute drug and violent crimes. She went on to head the Brooklyn office until President Clinton nominated her to become the U.S. attorney for the district in 1999.
In nominating Lynch for attorney general, President Obama said that she has distinguished herself throughout her 30-year career as a tough, fair and independent lawyer who has twice headed one of the most prominent U.S. attorney’s offices in the country. “She has spent years in the trenches as a prosecutor, aggressively fighting terrorism, financial fraud, cybercrime, all while vigorously defending civil rights,” he said.
Obama noted that Lynch successfully prosecuted the terrorists who plotted to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank and the New York City subway, helped secure billions in settlements from some of the world’s biggest banks accused of fraud, and jailed some of New York’s most violent and notorious mobsters and gang members.
“The Department of Justice is the only Cabinet department named for an ideal. And this is actually appropriate because our work is both aspirational and grounded in gritty reality,” Lynch said during her nomination announcement, adding that the work is also “ennobling” and “profoundly challenging.”