Loretta Lynch Confirmation Gets Even More Complicated

The irony could have never been this bitter for Loretta Lynch. Just in the final stretch of becoming the nation’s first Black woman attorney general — poised to replace Eric Holder, the first Black male AG — Lynch now finds her political fate bound and tangled up in, of all things, a human trafficking bill.

Lynch should have been confirmed last week, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), seeking to save face with a doubtful Republican caucus that watched him bungle near-government-shutdown spats over immigration and the budget, abruptly reneged on his promise to hold a final vote on the nominee even as her nomination slid almost effortlessly out of committee.

The always prickly subject of abortion had entered the Senate scene as the next in a string of bizarre snags delaying Lynch’s confirmation. Prepped to pass a bi-partisan bill bolstering the national fight against human trafficking, Senate Democrats caught Senate Republicans sneaking a controversial anti-abortion amendment into the bill.

Hence, some observers, and many Lynch supporters, are now cautious that inserting race into the equation could cloud a needed and ongoing conversation about her qualifications.

“If current Attorney General Eric Holder were not African American, the Democrats’ strategy might be more effective,” Republican strategist and CivicForum PAC founder Ford O’Connell tells the Tribune. “But given that the Democrats’ best argument against the Republican foot-dragging on Lynch is ‘for shame,’ racial politics, they probably should recalibrate. This fight is not really about Lynch, but leverage as it pertains to legislation.”

O’Connell, along with senior sources on Capitol Hill, predict Lynch won’t be confirmed until April or May. Other observers expect more stonewalling until Republicans figure the political cost is too high elsewhere.

Read more from Charles D. Ellison at The Philadelphia Tribune

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