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NC native nominated to replace Eric Holder as attorney general

Posted November 8, 2014
Updated November 9, 2014

— President Barack Obama introduced his choice for attorney general Saturday as an accomplished prosecutor from New York City who will carry on a "fierce commitment to equal justice."

Loretta Lynch, 55, originally from Greensboro, would be the first African-American woman to serve in the role. She would replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, who also was at Saturday's announcement and was the first black head of the Justice Department.

Obama argued at a White House ceremony that it's "pretty hard to be more qualified" for the job of attorney general than the Brooklyn federal prosecutor.

"Loretta might be the only lawyer in America who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists, and still has the reputation for being a charming people person," Obama said to laughter from those who packed the Roosevelt Room for the announcement.

Lynch said she was humbled and thrilled at the prospect of leading "the only Cabinet department named for an ideal."

"If I have the honor of being confirmed by the Senate, I will wake up every morning with the protection of the American people my first thought," she said. "And I will work every day to safeguard our citizens, our liberties, our rights, and this great nation which has given so much to me and my family."

Political science professor David McLennan said Lynch's track record is her strongest asset.

"She is a very successful person in her own right," he said. "Even if she never becomes attorney general she is a well thought of prosecutor."

Republicans have promised tough scrutiny of Obama's pick after years of battles with Holder, who is close to Lynch and appointed her as chair of a committee that advises him on policy. Holder has been an unflinching champion of civil rights in enforcing the nation's laws and his successor will be left to grapple with several prominent civil rights issues that have been elevated on his watch.

White House officials said they are leaving it up to Senate leaders to work out the timeline for her confirmation, with Obama calling for approval "without delay." But with Democrats facing a long list of priorities before year's end brings a shift to Republican control, it's likely she won't get a vote until next year.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat and the outgoing chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will consult about scheduling confirmation hearings with Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican who will take over in January. "She will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a public hearing after we have had time to review her record," he said in a statement.

Lynch was chosen in large part because the White House sees her as likely to win approval from the Senate after Republicans won the majority in Tuesday's midterm election. Grassley's office said Obama called him Friday night to tell him Lynch would be the nominee and the White House followed up to schedule a time for Grassley to speak with Lynch.

Lynch is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island, a position she also held under President Bill Clinton.

"Loretta doesn't look to make headlines, she looks to make a difference," Obama said, offering an explanation why she's largely unknown in Washington outside legal circles. "She's not about splash, she is about substance."



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  • Singlemalt Nov 10, 2014

    JACKAROE123, President Obama knows she is controversial which is why he is pushing to get her confirmed before the lame duck session is over.

  • disgusted2010 Nov 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Pot meet kettle.

  • disgusted2010 Nov 10, 2014

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    WRAL is inherently biased towards race baiters, liberals, gun haters and law enforcement. She will represent the WRAL crowd well.

  • Robert Richardson Nov 10, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Why don't you point me to a few since I haven't come across anything divisive yet. I'm honestly curious because of comments I've seen here.

  • jackaroe123 Nov 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Wow. But none of the dislike of the President himself could possibly have anything to do w/ race, right? And anyone who says otherwise must be "playing the race card," right? Geez.

    From what I understand, President Obama doesn't know Ms. Lynch well, so for those who dislike the President for ridiculous reasons, that should count in her favor. (For those who dislike the President for logical reasons, I imagine his daring nominate someone is not so audacious an act.) Additionally, Ms. Lynch appears to have a great reputation on her own and was chosen specifically b/c Republicans would likely be okay w/ her, so there is no clear reason to object other than blind, obstinate dislike of the President.

  • UNJUSTIFIED Nov 10, 2014

    Has any of Obamas appointments ever done a good job or finish the job???

  • Singlemalt Nov 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Study her history and her statements, that sums it up.

  • Cabe Merritt Nov 10, 2014
    user avatar

    Bad choice.

  • Hecate Nov 10, 2014

    "Holder has been an unflinching champion of civil rights in enforcing the nation's laws and his successor will be left to grapple with several prominent civil rights issues that have been elevated on his watch" .... This is a misleading statement, and it is incredibly biased, WRAL.

  • LetsBeFair Nov 10, 2014

    Something about her tells me the President made a good choice on this selection. Smart lady. Wish her well. (I'm a republican)