01.28.15

Historic AG Nominee Loretta Lynch, In Her Own Words

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, January 28, 2015) – In compelling testimony Wednesday, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch spoke of her personal story and her strong background as a federal prosecutor when describing the values she would bring to the Department of Justice.

I owe much to those who have worked to make [the Constitution’s] promise real for all Americans, beginning with my own family,” Lynch said.  “All of them – and so many others – have supported me on the path that has brought me to this moment.  From my parents I gained the tenacity and resolve to take on violent criminals, to confront political corruption and to disrupt organized crime.  They also gave me the insight and compassion to sit with the victims of crime and share their loss.”

Lynch is nominated to be the 83rd Attorney General of the United States, and if confirmed she will be the first African American woman to hold that position.  Lynch currently serves as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where she has a demonstrated record of fighting corruption and crime and working to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. 

In response to questions, Ms. Lynch spoke at length about her intent to be an independent voice in defense of the Constitution and the law.  “The Attorney General has a unique responsibility to provide independent and objective advice to the president, or any agency, when it is sought; and sometimes perhaps even when it is not sought,” Lynch said. “I think that the obligation of the Attorney General is to, when presented with matters by the President, to provide a full, thorough, independent, substantive legal analysis and give the President the best independent judgment that there is.”

Poised to become the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Lynch said her sense of justice and public service are rooted in her upbringing in Durham, North Carolina.

“My mother, Lorine, who was unable to travel here today, is a retired English teacher and librarian for whom education was the key to a better life. She recalls people in her rural community pressing a dime or a quarter into her hands to support her college education. As a young woman she refused to use segregated restrooms because they did not represent the America in which she believed. She instilled in me an abiding love of literature and learning, and taught me the value of hard work and sacrifice. My father, Lorenzo, is a fourth-generation Baptist preacher who in the early 1960’s opened his Greensboro church to those planning sit-ins and marches, standing with them while carrying me on his shoulders. He has always matched his principles with action – encouraging me to think for myself, but reminding me that we all gain the most when we act in service to others,” Lynch said.

In questions from Judiciary Committee members, Lynch spoke on a range of issues from supporting victims of human trafficking to working with law enforcement.  Her nomination has earned broad support from law enforcement, fellow prosecutors, civil rights groups, and legal practitioners.

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Loretta Lynch: An Independent Voice

  • “The Attorney General’s position, as a cabinet member, is perhaps unique from all of the cabinet members; yes, a member of the president's cabinet. But the Attorney General has a unique responsibility to provide independent and objective advice to the president, or any agency, when it is sought; and sometimes perhaps even when it is not sought.”
  • “I think that the obligation of the Attorney General is to, when presented with matters by the President, to provide a full, thorough, independent, substantive legal analysis and give the President the best independent judgment that there is.”
  • “I think that the First Amendment is one of the cornerstones of a free society and I believe that our jurisprudence has set forth great protections for individuals as well as groups in the -- in the exercise of their First Amendment rights to make sure that they are protected and not targeted.”
  • “I will be the person that I’ve always been as I’ve lead my office through two terms as United States attorney, focusing solely on the protection of the people of my district, and if confirmed as Attorney General, on the protection of all of the American people.”
  • “If confirmed as Attorney General, I will be myself. I will be Loretta Lynch.”

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