Obama’s Pick to Replace Holder Signals New Strategy

President Obama has nominated Loretta Lynch, a federal prosecutor in New York, to replace Eric Holder as head of the DOJ. Lynch should be a relatively uncontroversial pick, which likely signals a shift in strategy for the White House in dealing with the Republican majority in the Senate. Ian Millhiser explains her appeal as a nominee:

Much of Lynch’s appeal to Obama may stem from the fact that she is removed from many of the political battles that would render a nominee who has often been at odds with Republicans unconfirmable in a GOP-controlled Senate. Lynch has a distinguished, but relatively apolitical, career as a prosecutor. After earning both her undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, Lynch was an associate at a large law firm before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York in 1990. There, she rose to hold several senior career roles, including Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1998 to 1999, when she was confirmed to lead the office at U.S. Attorney during the Clinton Administration. Shortly after President Clinton left office, Lynch became a partner at another large law firm until President Obama reappointed her as U.S. Attorney in 2009.

The fact that she would be the first black woman to serve as attorney general also helps in this regard. Even the Republicans understand the symbolic power of being the first of a group to hold a position. Millhiser does note that Lynch has a pretty strong track record of prosecuting police brutality. She was the prosecutor who went after the NYPD officers who tortured Haitian immigrant Abner Louima (if you don’t know the details, do a Google search — but prepare to be horrified and disgusted). That’s good news to me.

I would expect more nominations like that, both for his cabinet and for the federal bench. If a spot opens up on the Supreme Court, I think Obama will nominate someone without a long track record of political activity or of taking controversial positions. I would also expect him to nominate a minority candidate, someone like Sri Srinivasan, who would be the first Indian-American on the court. He’s now a federal judge and he was confirmed by a 97-0 vote 18 months ago.

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  • eric

    Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1998 to 1999, when she was confirmed to lead the office at U.S. Attorney during the Clinton Administration. Shortly after President Clinton left office, Lynch became a partner at another large law firm until President Obama reappointed her as U.S. Attorney in 2009.

    That career path puts her firmly in Democrat territory, regardless of what she says in public. Under past Congresses this would not be an issue – executive branch political appointments are expected to come from the President’s party. However, with this particular Senate and House, I can imagine them making a stink about it.

  • dingojack

    Ed said: “Even the Republicans understand the symbolic power of being the first of a group to hold a position.”

    I’m not sure the Republicans widely circulated that memo, vis-à-vis the first African-American President.

    Dingo

  • Mobius

    I won’t be surprised, though, if there is a lot of political grand-standing by the Ted Cruz crowd. There are those that don’t want to give Obama an inch. I am sure that in the minds of some, just being an Obama appointee is enough to disqualify them.

  • D. C. Sessions

    He’s now a federal judge and he was confirmed by a 97-0 vote 18 months ago.

    But that was in the Senate that Reid ruled with an iron fist. There’s no way that a radical like him could possibly be confirmed today.

    Now, some brilliant scholar recently graduated from Liberty University with a clerkship under Clarence Tomas might be confirmable — or, of course, the Senate could leave the slot open until a more-qualified President takes office.

  • D. C. Sessions

    There are those that don’t want to give Obama an inch.

    There are those who would not be satisfied with him backpedalling by only a mile, for that matter.

  • dingojack

    Cue comments about ‘welfare queens’, ‘baby mommas’, ‘fist bumps’ and ‘urban-types’, in three, two, one …

    (Something about leopards and spots comes to mind).

    @@

    Dingo

  • illdoittomorrow

    “… Lynch has a pretty strong track record of prosecuting police brutality.”

    Well that makes her anti-police and pro-criminal. Typical for a liberal urban thug!

    /dogwhistle

  • hunter

    Forget it — was the one who got an indictment of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) for tax fraud. She’s toast.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    The smearing has already begun. Apparently, someone at Breitbart tried to tie her to the Clintons and managed to fin a different attorney named Loretta Lynch. Journalistic integrity at its best.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    American Thinker: Obama to replace Holder with “another Ivy League radical determined to undermine our rule of law by stirring up trouble between blacks and whites” (Original title: [Six year long series of dogwhistles proven to frighten aging white people, scientists say]

  • Randomfactor

    It’s OK, Breitbart issued an apology. In small print. UNDER the article. Which is still there.

  • busterggi

    I admire her – how many white country singers would convert to black lawyers?

  • lorn

    Oh please, given that the GOP now owns the senate I doubt he will get any nominee, for anything at all, through. The GOP doesn’t care if positions left unfilled cripples government. They are not invested in having government work. Delay for two more years and there is some chance a Republican president will make the nomination.