Democrats are up in arms over the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee’s handling of the confirmation vote for Loretta Lynch, who was nominated by PresidentBarack Obama to replace outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Supporters accuse Republicans of “slow-walking the vote,” Politico reports:
Their newest evidence: the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision Thursday to postpone voting on Lynch until after next week’s recess — which means she won’t get a final floor vote until March, at least five weeks after her confirmation hearing.
Lynch’s confirmation hearing began in late January. By contrast, the Republican-controlled Senate moved quickly to take up the nomination of Ashton Carter for defense secretary. On Feb. 4, Carter appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and was confirmed Thursday.
“There’s so many similarities between the Lynch nomination and the Carter nomination,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of Lynch’s biggest boosters. “And to move Carter so quickly and to slow down Lynch is very troublesome, and I think they ought to move her ASAP.”
The delay may have a lot to do with timing, Politico notes:
Senate Democrats agreed to postpone her confirmation into the new Republican-led chamber at the GOP’s request. Democrats meant it as a gesture of goodwill, and they also believed Lynch would be confirmed in either a Democratic- or GOP-controlled Senate.
While some key Republicans initially signaled support for Lynch, others appear to be uncertain. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a frequent critic of Holder, has expressed the strongest opposition.
“She needs to show me and a lot of other members that she’s going to be a different attorney general than Holder,” Grassley said in an interview. “I haven’t come to that conclusion that she has, and that’s what I’m looking for.”
Democrats tell Politico that of the past five attorney general nominations taken up by the Judiciary Committee, only Alberto Gonzales’ confirmation was delayed. Gonzales was appointed by President George W. Bush in February 2005, becoming the first Hispanic to become U.S. attorney general.