Racist? Oh Yeah? Wait Til You See Us Confirm Lynch.
“Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar.” – Senator Dick Durbin (D., IL)
This was his response to Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell who postponed the vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general in order to break the filibuster of a human-trafficking which they would indeed do. In public, Republican senators said that GOP support for Lynch’s confirmation reflects the belief that the Senate has a duty to confirm a president’s cabinet nominees if they have the requisite qualifications. Privately, according to National Review’s Joel Gehrke , they admit that charges of racism such as the one leveled by Durbin discouraged them from blocking her nomination entirely. As a result, Obama paid no political price for issuing executive orders on immigration.
To Discourage Obama
Or future presidents from issuing such sweeping executive orders, some Senators wanted McConnell to refuse to allow a vote on the floor. That proposal failed due to fear of the political backlash that Democrats would instigate by accusing Republicans of racist motives.
Republicans agree that Lynch is qualified for the job, but in exchanges with Senators Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during her confirmation hearings in January, Lynch refused to identify any hypothetical limit to Obama’s power to claim that the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion allowed him to stop enforcing certain laws. At one point, she declined to say if a future Republican president could unilaterally lower taxes by refusing to collect revenue beyond a certain tax rate.
When McConnell delayed Lynch’s confirmation vote until the resolution of the human-trafficking debate, Republicans got a taste of the racism charges they’d hoped to avoid. Activists targeted the majority leader, in particular, for protests outside his office and over the phone.
Sixty-six senators, including 20 Republicans, voted to end debate on Loretta Lynch’s nomination for attorney general. By clearing 60 votes, though, Senate Republicans avoided a fight over the nuclear option, the procedural move that then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) took last Congress to prevent Republicans from filibustering President Obama’s nominees to positions in the executive branch and the lower courts. If fewer than 60 senators had voted to end debate on her nomination, any lawmaker could have called for a vote to reverse the nuclear option. Her nomination was confirmed when ten Republicans voted with the chamber’s 44 Democrats and two independents in her favor.