In Delaying Vote on Loretta Lynch as Attorney General, G.O.P. Is in a Quandary
The New York Times is out with an article laying bare the difficult position that Republicans in Congress have put themselves in by opposing the nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General. She is an incredibly qualified candidate, and would be the first African American woman to serve as AG.
Senate Republicans bolted for a two-week spring recess with the confirmation of Loretta E. Lynch as attorney general in jeopardy, and themselves in a quandary: Accept a qualified nominee they oppose because she backs President Obama’s policies or reject her and live with an attorney general they despise, Eric H. Holder Jr.
The nomination of Ms. Lynch, a seasoned United States attorney from New York, has laid bare the difficult politics confronting the new Republican majority. Lawmakers have found nothing in Ms. Lynch’s background to latch on to in opposition, and many are loath to reject the first African-American woman put forth to be the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
But, they say, their constituents have told them that a vote for Ms. Lynch affirms Mr. Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which she has said she finds lawful.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, now finds himself in the conundrum that has bedeviled his counterpart in the House, Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio: Members of his party will vote no on Ms. Lynch but hope “yes” — that she will squeak through.
“Perhaps she’ll be confirmed,” Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, said after a long pause and a deep audible breath, “but she won’t be confirmed with my vote. That’s what my constituents want of me, to make a stand against someone who has basically taken the position that the executive branch has unlimited, almost czarlike powers.”
A confirmation vote for Ms. Lynch, delayed longer than any other attorney general nominee in three decades, is vexing for a Republican Party seeking to counter accusations that it is indifferent to women and minorities.
Some Republicans concede Mr. Obama could not be expected to nominate an attorney general who rejects his policies. “The president is clearly going to nominate someone who’s most likely aligned with his policy positions,” said Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina.
At the same time, almost no one has an unkind word for Ms. Lynch. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, said she could hardly expect a better nominee, “not in terms of qualifications or personal attributes.”
Yet, she cannot see herself voting for her.
Ms. Capito said she is holding out for the prospect that the president could offer a nominee not quite so stalwart in defense of the president’s policies.
“I would say it’s probably realistic to think somebody could convince me that they’re going to be more objective about it, yes,” Ms. Capito said.