Tillis cites voting lawsuit to explain 'no' on Lynch nomination

Posted February 26, 2015 3:06 p.m. EST
Updated February 26, 2015 3:21 p.m. EST

— The U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee has has approved Greensboro native Loretta Lynch's nomination to serve as U.S. attorney general, but she did not have the support of a home-state senator.

Sen. Thom Tillis voted no on Lynch's nomination, saying that she did not clearly answer questions he had related to a federal voting rights lawsuit.

"By all indications, Ms. Lynch would continue to pursue the costly and frivolous lawsuit against the state of North Carolina to overturn a common-sense and constitutionally sound voter ID law," Tillis said in a prepared statement emailed to reporters. "That same law is supported by the vast majority of North Carolinians, and the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that similar state photo ID laws are in fact constitutional."

During a hearing earlier this month, Tillis asked Lynch "given the limited the resources within the AG's office," would she continue to pursue cases like the one brought against North Carolina's voter ID law. Tillis helped bring that law about when he was speaker of the state House.

"With respect to how the department will look at voting rights issues is with a view toward protecting the right to vote," Lynch said. "Certainly, all voter ID laws are not problematic."

She continued that, given how important voting rights were, if an issue is raised with a law, the Department of Justice has an obligation to review it.

In his statement Thursday, Tillis said he also took issue with Lynch's support for President Barack Obama's immigration polices and her failure to commit to doing away with "partisan politicization" of the department.

"For these reasons, I will not be voting to confirm Ms. Lynch. In the event that she is confirmed by the Senate, I stand ready to work with her on key areas of agreement, and I hope she will prove my concerns unfounded by rebuilding the Department of Justice’s fractured relationship with Congress, put an end to the costly and politically motivated ligation against North Carolina, and most importantly, restore the Department’s reputation for legal integrity that is divorced from politics," Tillis wrote.

The committee's 12-8 vote sends Lynch's nomination to the full Senate.