Tags: loretta lynch | attorney general | eric holder | congress | hearings

Loretta Lynch to Downplay Politics, Show Contrast to AG Holder

Image: Loretta Lynch to Downplay Politics, Show Contrast to AG Holder
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By    |   Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 08:31 AM

Loretta Lynch, the president's choice to replace Attorney General Eric Holder, is expected to differentiate herself as a public servant who would take a less political approach, something Republicans see as desirable as they prepare for her likely confirmation in the coming weeks, The New York Times reported.

Holder's tenure, by contrast, has been characterized by outspoken liberal positions, politicizing the office and often putting him at odds with congressional Republicans.

"Attorney General Holder has been a lightning rod for some of those conversations and debates," Jamie Gorelick, a deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, told the Times.

"At this stage in the department's life, it would be really wonderful for it to get back to the business of justice and not be distracted by political fights and the debates of the day as much as it has been."

If confirmed, Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, New York, would be the country's first black woman to serve as attorney general.

Hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee are due to begin Wednesday. Lynch only needs three Republican members to advance her nomination to the Senate floor, and already looks set to have secured them, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham will likely support her according to earlier reports, though Graham says he still has some significant questions.

"On paper she is a good choice and I like her personally, but she is going to have some hard questions," Graham told the Times. At the same time he said, "We need an attorney general … If not her, who?"

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has also previously indicated he would support her.

Lynch is also seen as a positive choice during a time of racial tensions between minorities and law enforcement, the Times said.

Nevertheless, she is expected to face difficult questions about her support of the president's executive action on immigration, having said she believes it was legally justified. She could also get grilled on civilian trials for terrorism suspects, and a hands-off approach to marijuana legalization in certain states, the Journal said.

And questions will arise about the alleged IRS targeting of conservative groups and the Justice Department's ongoing multibillion-dollar settlements with banks that triggered the financial meltdown.

"Ms. Lynch deserves to be judged on her own record," said Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, according to the Journal. "I am confident that if we stay focused on Ms. Lynch's impeccable qualifications and her reputation for fairness, she will be quickly confirmed by the Senate."

Officials told the Times that Lynch is expected to testify that she has sought a strong working relationship with Congress and will also try to emphasize her record of prosecuting terrorist suspects.

Lynch also has a particular interest in cybersecurity, having established a unit dedicated to it in New York. Officials said she will make the issue an "enhanced priority" of the Justice Department should she take the post, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, Holder is looking to put to bed a number of issues before he hands over control of the office. He is expected to announce the results of an investigation into the 2012 unarmed killing of Trayvon Martin.

But the decisions about whether to file civil rights charges in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner will probably not happen under his watch, the Journal said.

"She's just a very fair-minded individual. I don't see her coming into this with any preconceived notions," New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday, according to the Journal.

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Loretta Lynch, the president's choice to replace Attorney General Eric Holder, is expected to differentiate herself as a public servant who would take a less political approach, something Republicans see as desirable as they prepare for her likely confirmation in the coming weeks.
loretta lynch, attorney general, eric holder, congress, hearings
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2015-31-28
Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 08:31 AM
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