President Obama's pick to be the next attorney general has wrapped up a daylong confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, and the AP writes that Loretta Lynch's day can be summed up in one question posed to her by Republican Sen. John Cornyn. “You’re not Eric Holder, are you?” Cornyn asked her in jest. Lynch assured him she wasn't, adding later that, as attorney general, “I will be myself. I will be Loretta Lynch. And I will refer you to my record [as U.S. attorney] as well as a practicing lawyer to see the independence that I have always brought to every particular matter.” Generating the most headlines today was her defense of President Obama's controversial policy to ease deportation rules for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Noting that Holder's Justice Department had backed Obama's action, Lynch said, “I don’t see any reason to doubt the reasonableness of those views.” Other high-profile issues that came up before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as noted by the Washington Post and Politico:
- Death penalty: She backs it as an "effective penalty."
- Waterboarding: It is "torture and thus illegal."
- NSA surveillance: The programs were "constitutional and effective."
- Marijuana: It “certainly would be my policy" to continue enforcing marijuana laws at the federal level.
Bottom line? Lynch is expected to win approval of the committee and be confirmed by the full Senate, reports the New York Times
. To do so, she needs three Republican votes on the panel, and, barring surprises, Democrats think they have them in Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Jeff Flake.