Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General of the United States

Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be Attorney General has languished on the Senate floor for 48 days.  This unnecessary wait time is twice as long as the last seven Attorney General nominees combined.  Under any standard, she is not being treated fairly.  For nearly seven weeks, she has waited for her confirmation vote to be scheduled by the Majority Leader.  She has now earned the support to be confirmed and if the leader would simply schedule her vote, this eminently qualified prosecutor could get to work as our next Attorney General.   

Last month, after Ms. Lynch’s nomination had already been pending on the floor for weeks, the Majority Leader inexplicably chose to hold her nomination hostage until he got his way on a partisan provision in unrelated legislation. That Loretta Lynch is being denied a confirmation vote over human trafficking legislation is a cruel irony since she has a proven record of prosecuting child rapists and human traffickers.  If members want a prosecutor with a deep commitment to fighting human trafficking, then they should support Loretta Lynch.

The American people deserve to know that while the Majority Leader said he would block a confirmation vote on Ms. Lynch until we passed unrelated legislation, the Senate has voted 74 times on other matters.  If the Senate can vote on a Republican budget, legislation to increase payments to doctors, and on the confirmation of several other nominees then of course we can and should vote on the nomination of our Nation’s next chief law enforcement officer.  There is simply no excuse.

Every additional day that Ms. Lynch’s nomination languishes on the floor is another day Senate Republicans fail to govern responsibly. This Congress, it took more than three months for Senate Republicans to schedule a vote on a single judicial nominee.  And even though the Senate finally did confirm a district court nominee this week, nine more judicial nominees are waiting to be considered.  This is no way to respect the dedicated public servants who have been nominated and no way to treat our coequal branches of government.

The Republican Leader has the opportunity to show the American people what we can do when we work together.  He should call Loretta Lynch’s nomination up for a vote without further delay.   


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