Tags: Barack Obama | Steve Malzberg Show | Orrin Hatch | Obama | Holder | Attorney General | Loretta Lynch

Orrin Hatch: Obama, Holder 'Treated the Law as an Irritant'

By    |   Thursday, 13 November 2014 02:41 PM

Sen. Orrin Hatch says it is likely Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's nominee for U.S. attorney general, will be approved by Congress — but she first must be thoroughly vetted, and that process cannot be rushed.

And, he warned, it should certainly not happen during the lame-duck session now in progress on Capitol Hill.

"Looking at it superficially, it looks to me we would confirm Lynch," Hatch, a Utah Republican and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"On the other hand, we haven't had a hearing, a process we should have for something this important — especially after so many Republicans are very, very dissatisfied with the current leadership of the Department of Justice.

"Even some Democrats are dissatisfied because that leadership has been plagued with scandal as the president sought to centralize more power within the executive branch … rather than work with Congress."

Lynch, who is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, could be grilled on any number of hot-button issues during confirmation hearings, according to Hatch.

"There are so many issues that could be raised … the IRS scandal, the gun-running scandal down on our borders, and why Attorney General Eric Holder has not chosen to defend any number of laws, most notably the law of the land on immigration," Hatch said.

"The Obama administration, with the help of the Holder Justice Department, has treated the law as an irritant to be avoided, not rules to be followed for the good of the country. Our founding fathers said our government is run by laws and not men.

"We need to make sure Holder's replacement understands the importance of upholding the law, which is why thorough and fair debate about his replacement, Lynch, is even more important."

Hatch emphasized that the vetting process could be lengthy.

"This is a process that will take a little time because we need to cover these and other issues. There's no reason to rush the confirmation process in a lame duck session," he said.
"She's going to be confirmed, but we ought to at least be able to do the investigations that are necessary to be able to determine if there's any limiting factors that ought to be brought forward."

Hatch recalled how President George W. Bush nominated a new attorney general days after the November 2004 election.

"While his party controlled the Senate, the judiciary committee did not hold a hearing until January 2005 when newly elected senators had taken off, including then-Sen. Barack Obama," Hatch said.

"In other words, Obama should afford the new Congress the same opportunity he enjoyed when he was first elected to federal office just under a decade ago.

"He should not try and push this through with 11 vacancies that currently will exist until we get the new senators sworn in."

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Hatch said if Democrats today follow the same process Bush and the Senate followed, Americans "can be confident" the rule of law is once again the justice department's top priority.

"No one has been nominated and confirmed to be attorney general in a lame duck session of Congress after a party switch since before the Civil War," he said.

"I congratulate Loretta Lynch, her nomination, and her impressive qualifications. Looking at it, I have to say she looks like she'll be a good person.

"But the newly elected senators on both sides should have the privilege of voting for her or against her. Most of them will vote for her, and it ought to be done in a way that has always been followed since the Civil War."

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Sen. Orrin Hatch says it is likely Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee for U.S. attorney general, will be approved by Congress — but she first must be thoroughly vetted, and that process cannot be rushed.
Orrin Hatch, Obama, Holder, Attorney General, Loretta Lynch
Thursday, 13 November 2014 02:41 PM
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