Finally! History has officially been made. Big congrats to Loretta E. Lynch. Get the details below via The New York Times.
After one of the nation’s most protracted cabinet-level confirmation delays, the Senate Thursday approved Loretta E. Lynch to be attorney general. She is the first African-American woman to hold the position.
Ms. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was confirmed 56 to 43, with 10 Republicans voting for her.
Her confirmation took longer than that for all but two other nominees for the office: Edwin Meese III, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan, and A. Mitchell Palmer, who was picked by President Woodrow Wilson, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Republicans have found themselves in a quandary for months. They longed to replace Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and they agreed that Ms. Lynch was qualified for the job. But they opposed her because Ms. Lynch defended President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
What’s more, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and majority leader, had held up the nomination until the Senate voted on a human trafficking bill, a process that dragged on for weeks. The measure passed on Wednesday by a vote of 99 to 0.
And some Republicans continued to strongly oppose Ms. Lynch. “We do not have to confirm someone to the highest law enforcement position in America if that someone has committed to denigrating Congress,” Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, said on the Senate floor Thursday. “We don’t need to be apologetic about it, colleagues.”
In the end several Republicans — to the surprise of many of their own colleagues — voted aye for Ms. Lynch, including Mr. McConnell.
Some conservative groups had called on Senate Republicans to block a vote on Ms. Lynch altogether because of her stance on the president’s immigration policies. Many Senate Republicans feared the party would face serious political repercussions if it blocked an African-American woman with strong credentials and enthusiastic support from many in law enforcement.