State Newspapers' Editorial Boards Shame Their GOP Senators For Blocking Vote On AG Nomination

Editorial boards in states with Republican senators are condemning their representatives for refusing to allow an up-or-down vote on Loretta Lynch, President Obama's highly-qualified pick to become the next U.S. Attorney General, despite bipartisan support for her nomination.

Illinois' Journal Star: “Lynch delay just one more indictment of worst Congress ever”

Iowa's Des Moines Register: “Lynch deserves confirmation vote”

Kentucky's Courier-Journal: “Untangle the Senate”

Missouri's St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Dysfunctional Congress trades jabs on sex trafficking, Loretta Lynch”

New Hampshire's Concord Monitor: “Another day, another game in the Senate”

North Carolina's News & Observer: “Sens. Tillis, Burr crassly partisan in opposing Loretta Lynch”

Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal: “Loretta Lynch deserves a confirmation vote”

Pennsylvania's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Delay of Justice: The Senate should vote on Lynch, up or down”

South Carolina's Charlotte Observer: “Time to approve Loretta Lynch”

Tennessee's Chattanooga Times Free Press: “Failure to govern: Political apathy can't go on”

Texas' San Antonio Express-News: “Confirm Loretta Lynch”

Senate Republicans Could Delay A Confirmation Vote On Lynch Until April

CNN: “Lynch's Confirmation Vote Could Be Delayed Until April.” As CNN reported, Senate Republicans are stalling on a confirmation vote for Loretta Lynch, Obama's pick to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. Despite the fact that Lynch has broad support from Democrats and Republicans alike, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has nevertheless gone back on his word and delayed a vote on Lynch until Democrats approve an unrelated human trafficking bill:

Lynch, a two-time US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was nominated in November and has waited longer than all five previous attorney general nominees combined for a vote in the full Senate.

[Former New York City Mayor Rudolph] Giuliani worked with Lynch when he was mayor and called her an excellent lawyer with “very substantial expertise in national security”, who made decisions on merit, was not a political operative in any sense and deserved to be confirmed.

“As you all know, I am a Republican and I think I could probably be described as a very dedicated Republican,” Giuliani told reporters on a press call. “I find Loretta Lynch not only to be an acceptable appointment. I find her to be an extraordinary appointment.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to delay a vote on Lynch's confirmation by the full Senate until the chamber completes consideration of an unrelated sex trafficking bill. That legislation had bipartisan support until Democrats discovered Republicans had added an anti-abortion provision they oppose. A procedural vote to end debate on the bill failed for the third time on Thursday and efforts to reach a compromise have gone nowhere. With the Senate set to debate the budget next week and to leave for a two-week Easter recess the following week, Lynch's confirmation vote could be delayed until April. [CNN, 3/20/15]

Editorial Boards In States With Republican Senators Condemn Obstruction Of Lynch And Call For An Immediate Up-Or-Down Vote

Illinois' Journal Star: “What A Novel Concept: A Nominee Who Supports The Nominating President's Positions.” In a recent editorial, the Journal Star condemned McConnell for “trying to extort Democrats” who oppose the expansion of the Hyde Amendment in the human trafficking bill. Noting that “few doubt her credentials,” the Journal Star editorial board called on Senate Republicans -- including their own Mark Kirk -- to allow an “up-or-down vote on the merits”:

Games. Always games.

That describes what's happening now in the U.S. Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to extort Democrats into voting for a human trafficking prevention bill by making it a precondition of permitting a vote on the president's nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch.

Lynch was nominated by President Obama on Nov. 8. She sailed through her Jan. 28 confirmation hearing without so much as a misstep before a majority party that was eager to hear one, and on Feb. 26, the GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed her appointment. Few doubt her credentials, as a current U.S. attorney in New York City, for the job, with the possible exception of those Republicans who think she shares too many of Obama's goals. Yes, what a novel concept: a nominee who supports the nominating president's positions. Wow, that's never happened before with, say, a Republican president, who always chooses someone who disagrees with him for the likes of Cabinet and federal court positions.

Alas, McConnell has been sitting on it ever since, all because of the anti-trafficking bill that Democrats generally support -- who's for human trafficking? -- with the exception of an anti-abortion provision that was not in the original Senate bill, not in the initial House bill (though it has been in play long enough for Democrats to have noticed before now).

These are unrelated issues. Both deserve an up-or-down vote on the merits, without preconditions. It's the same old nonsense that has made the last couple of Congresses the most unpopular, do-nothing bodies in U.S. history. [Peoria Journal Star, 3/19/15]

Iowa's Des Moines Register: “By Tabling A Vote On Lynch, Republicans Risk Further Alienation Of Black And Latino Voters.” Iowa is currently represented by two Republican Senators -- Chuck Grassley and newly-elected Joni Ernst -- who have supported the historic obstructionism behind Lynch's nomination. In a recent editorial, the Des Moines Register argued that allowing a vote would “show the country that [Republicans] can govern” and that continued delays would distance the GOP from minority voters:

It was inevitable that the new Republican leaders in Congress would face a learning curve. Unfortunately, they are proving to be slow learners.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's treatment of Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general, is the latest in a series of strategic missteps that have led to an unproductive start for this Congress -- even by recent congressional standards.


Now Republicans appear to have decided to trade one hostage -- Homeland Security -- for another: Loretta Lynch. The party's opposition to Lynch rests almost entirely on her unwillingness to criticize Obama's immigration policies. Unless a compromise can be reached, Republicans will be in the position of indefinitely delaying a vote on the first black woman nominated for attorney general, even though she appears to have enough Republican support to be confirmed.

By tabling a vote on Lynch, Republicans risk further alienation of black and Latino voters -- and even more rancorous relations with Democrats, just as budget negotiations are beginning. Republicans still need to show the country that they govern. And the best way to do that is to bring Lynch's nomination to the floor, and the sooner the better. [The Des Moines Register, 3/17/15]

Kentucky's Courier-Journal: “Once Again, Gridlock Rules.” The Courier-Journal editorial board also blasted McConnell for unfairly linking Lynch's fate to the human trafficking bill, and accused him of “falsely implying Democrats are somehow opposed to helping” victims in order to defend his fellow Republicans. The editors also pointed out McConnell's broken promise on the timing of the vote, as he “initially had planned to hold a vote on Ms. Lynch's confirmation but now is stalling it”:

What do human trafficking, abortion and the nation's next attorney general have to do with each other?

Nothing -- unless they get lumped together on the battleground more commonly known as Congress.

The three unrelated issues are tangled into a complicated knot by Republicans who hold the majority in the U.S. Senate, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. And once again, gridlock rules.


It's already illegal to spend taxpayer funds on abortions under federal law known as the Hyde Amendment. But some in the Senate now want to dictate how trafficking victims spend money from perpetrators.

In public comments, Mr. McConnell tries to argue the fight is actually about human trafficking, invoking the terrible plight of victims “sold into sexual slavery” and falsely implying Democrats somehow are opposed to helping such individuals.

In fact, it's the Senate GOP holding up aid to victims of trafficking through its insistence on throwing abortion into the mix. [The Courier-Journal, 3/18/15]

Missouri's St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Victimizing The Highly Qualified Ms. Lynch ... Is Another Low.” Although Missouri's Republican Sen. Roy Blunt reportedly plans to vote against Lynch's nomination, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch attacked the “dysfunctional Congress” that has so far blocked a vote. In its editorial, the Post-Dispatch called on Republicans to “remove the poison pill Hyde Amendment” from the human trafficking bill and bring her nomination up for a vote and confirmation:

If Republicans sincerely want to help the victims of sex trafficking -- a roughly $32 billion-a-year slave trade -- they should remove the poison pill Hyde Amendment from the bill, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Women who have been sold into slavery don't need further burdens.

Democrats should up their game. Hint: If the GOP says a bill is non-controversial, check anyway.

Victimizing the highly qualified Ms. Lynch in this unfortunate exercise is another low. The Senate is busy this week debating a budget that is destined to go nowhere, and then Congress takes two weeks off for Easter.

By that point, Ms. Lynch's nomination will have languished for five months. Before eating Easter dinner, the Senate should put aside this malarkey, confirm Ms. Lynch and get the trafficking bill passed. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4/26/15]

New Hampshire's Concord Monitor: Wait On Lynch Vote Is “An Unconscionable Delay.” The editorial board of the Concord Monitor also criticized the “glacial pace” of the current Senate, and called McConnell's use of the human trafficking bill as leverage “the flimsiest of pretexts.” In a reference to their own Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, “who knows something about breaking barriers as an attorney general,” the paper urged her to “nudge her fellow Republicans in the correct direction” :

[W]hen you have a Republican majority that is driven to distraction by President Obama, the simplest matters can turn into the grandest of confrontations. So far this year, the Senate has worked at a glacial pace, only managing to pass bills that are either absolutely necessary, such as allocating money for the Department of Homeland Security, or certain to be vetoed, such as attempting to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Lynch was nominated in November. She was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote last month, with senators of both parties praising her experience. The delay between her nomination and confirmation is now as long as any attorney general since Edwin Meese was nominated by President Ronald Reagan exactly 30 years ago.

That's an unconscionable delay, especially when it comes to our nation's top law enforcement officer.

The list of things GOP senators don't like about the Obama administration is lengthy. But the justification they're using to oppose Lynch's confirmation is her support of Obama's executive actions on immigration. Never mind the fact that if congressional Republicans had taken action on a comprehensive immigration plan over the last six years, Obama's executive actions would have been unnecessary. They had -- indeed, they still have -- the power to render any executive order superfluous.

Right now, Senate leader Mitch McConnell is using a human trafficking bill as the flimsiest of pretexts to delay Lynch's confirmation. The bill includes anti-abortion language that some Democrats object to. Republicans are unhappy that Democrats are raising a stink about the bill now, given that its text has been available for months. But these political squabbles have exactly nothing to do with the post of attorney general. [Concord Monitor, 3/17/15]

North Carolina's News & Observer: Republican Senators “Are Simply Classless In Standing Against Lynch.” The News & Observer also took to task North Carolina's Republican senators -- Thom Tillis and Richard Burr -- for opposing Lynch, who is a native North Carolinian. The editorial board condemned Tillis and Burr's objections against Lynch as “classless,” called Lynch a “North Carolina success story,” and concluded that “it's quickly becoming clear what a mistake it was to send Thom Tillis to the U.S. Senate”:

Tillis is making a partisan objection to Attorney General Eric Holder's supposed “politicizing” the Department of Justice. If North Carolina's senators oppose a nominee, it should be because she is not qualified to serve. It shouldn't be because she does not share their conservative views of the law. She is not nominated as a judge. She is nominated by the president to approach the role of attorney general in a way that reflects his philosophy of the law. The president is entitled to nominate people who share his views.

Beyond being wrongheaded about the confirmation process, Tillis and Burr are simply classless in standing against Lynch. An African-American who grew up in Durham as the daughter of a minister and a librarian, Lynch is a North Carolina success story. She distinguished herself by earning undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, in private practice and as United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York. If confirmed, she would be the first black woman to hold the office of Attorney General of the United States.

Senators are impressed with Lynch's credentials, her demeanor and her judgment. Other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, including Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake, voted for her. Yet the junior senator from North Carolina voted against her, putting himself in league with tea party Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Burr promptly said, “Me, too.”

Burr and Tillis think Lynch is unworthy of approval because she will cnot drop the Justice Department's suit against a new North Carolina election law. The law, quickly approved once the U.S. Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act, is one of the most restrictive such laws in the nation. It requires a photo ID to vote, tightens registration rules and cuts back early voting. [The News & Observer, 2/26/15]

Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal: Sen. Rob Portman “Has Thought About Being President. Would He Want Such Treatment For His Cabinet Nominees?” In a recent editorial, the Akron Beacon Journal called on its Republican senator, Rob Portman, to confirm the “highly qualified” Loretta Lynch once McConnell brings her up for a vote. The editorial board criticized Senate Republicans for going back on their promise to give Lynch's nomination “fair consideration,” and argued that “a president, whether Republican or Democratic, deserves wide leeway in selecting Cabinet members”:

In November, Mitch McConnell, the soon-to-be Senate majority leader, made a pitch for taking up the nomination of Loretta Lynch for attorney general in the new year, when Congress returned for a new session. Democrats agreed, largely out of self-interest, freeing time for the confirmation of federal judges. More, McConnell promised that Lynch would receive “fair consideration” under the Republican majority.

How is that going? In late February, Lynch won approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee, three Republicans joining all nine Democrats. Since then, a confirmation vote by the full Senate has been put on hold, the delay reaching an extraordinary length, on par with Edwin Meese in the 1980s -- and he had a bundle of ethical problems. It appears Lynch will not receive a floor vote until next month, at the earliest.

Hard to describe the handling of her nomination as fair, or a display by the new Republican majority of its ability to govern. Republican senators used the confirmation hearing as a forum for expressing their opposition to President Obama's executive actions on immigration. No surprise. The steps taken by the president are worthy of a good argument. That Lynch sided with the president hardly came as a shock. She is his nominee. Presumably, the president thought he had enough opposition from Republicans.

A president, whether Republican or Democratic, deserves wide leeway in selecting Cabinet members. Lynch hasn't been tapped for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. Her tenure would end with the Obama presidency. Worth adding is that she is highly qualified, with a long and distinguished career as a federal prosecutor. She has strong ties to law enforcement. She appears thoughtful, measured and independent. She would be the first black woman to hold the position.


U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio has thought about being president. Would he want such treatment for his Cabinet nominees? Loretta Lynch should be leading the Justice Department. How long before she gets the vote she deserves? [The Akron Beacon Journal, 3/24/15]

Pennsylvania's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “The Senate Owes Ms. Lynch -- And The Country -- The Courtesy Of A Vote.” In its editorial supporting a vote on Lynch, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called Republican senators “childish” for stalling Lynch's confirmation vote. As the Post-Gazette explained, Republican Senators like Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey has created an absurd new standard in their opposition to Lynch, because "[t]he president is never going to put forth a nominee the Tea Party will like -- nor should he":

More than four months after President Barack Obama nominated her to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general, Loretta Lynch remains in limbo. This is not because some Republican senators are racist or sexist, but because they're childish, treating the nomination like candy to be traded for better fare.

While such political antics are often defended as “the art of the possible,” they degrade both the political process and the office. The Senate should stop stalling and vote Ms. Lynch up or down.


Ms. Lynch, however, was generally well regarded until her confirmation hearing, when she said immigrants who came to the United States illegally should be able to obtain work permits. This enraged Republicans who believe the president's immigration policies flout the Constitution.

But Ms. Lynch's position should not come as a surprise; a president is not going to appoint Cabinet members who don't share his views. The president is never going to put forth a nominee the Tea Party will like -- nor should he.

To become the next head of the Justice Department, Ms. Lynch needs 51 votes. If all 46 Democrats vote for her, she needs just five Republicans to cross over. A few, such as South Carolina's Lindsey Graham and Utah's Orrin Hatch, say they intend to back her, but they could change their minds if Senate leaders continue to stall.

The Senate owes Ms. Lynch -- and the country -- the courtesy of a vote. Republicans will get an attorney general more to their liking if their presidential candidate wins in 2016. Until then, it's Mr. Holder or Ms. Lynch. Pick one, and move on. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/20/15]

South Carolina's Charlotte Observer: Delay On Lynch Is A “Hyper-Partisan D.C. Food Fight That's Destroying Our Country.” Although South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has signaled his support for Lynch, his colleague, fellow Republican Tim Scott, has not -- even though, as the Charlotte Observer pointed out, Lynch “is well-qualified to take over for Eric Holder.” The editorial board called the delay an example of “toxic politics of the nation's capital”:

We like to say in this country that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can reach as high as your dreams and smarts will take you.

That certainly isn't the message Republican senators are sending when it comes to Loretta Lynch's nomination for attorney general. Nearly two weeks after winning approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Greensboro-born, Durham-bred Harvard graduate still awaits confirmation as the nation's top law enforcement official. Thanks to the toxic politics of the nation's capital, she might have to wait another month before the full Senate votes.

All of this despite the fact that Democrats and Republicans -- even some who oppose her -- agree that the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York is well-qualified to take over for Eric Holder.

So what's the problem? Critics say she's too much like Holder and the man who's trying to hire her, Barack Obama, on major issues such as voting rights and immigration. It's a ridiculous objection. What boss picks an employee to fight his or her goals?

What's really holding her up is the kind of hyper-partisan D.C. food fight that's destroying our country. [The Charlotte Observer, 3/18/15]

Tennessee's Chattanooga Times Free Press: “We The People Cannot Get A Vote On [Lynch's] Nomination.” In a recent editorial, the Times Free Press denounced Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander for his opposition of Lynch, despite the fact that her public service resume “is the epitome of good government working well.” The editorial board railed against the partisan politics that stalled her nomination even though “none of our senators and Congress members have any complaints”:

“I will vote against President Obama's nomination of Loretta Lynch for attorney general of the United States,” Alexander said in an email statement to the media. “This is an opportunity, within the Senate rules, to express my disapproval of the president's abuse of executive authority, and it's an opportunity I intend to take.”

What? Loretta Lynch was the valedictorian of her class, and gave up excellent private attorney compensation to become a public servant decades ago. She has successfully prosecuted mobsters, bad cops and corrupt politicians. She is the epitome of good government working well. But we the people cannot get a vote on her nomination because the Senate has now found a way to disagree on a bill that would protect victims of sex trafficking. [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/18/15]

Texas' San Antonio Express-News: “What We've Witnessed Is A Business-As-Usual Congressional Hot Mess.” As the Express-News' editorial pointed out, “Lynch's qualifications are not questioned,” and linking her confirmation to an unrelated trafficking bill is inappropriate. The editorial board suggested Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz “chew gum and walk at the same time” by allowing a vote on Lynch while they consider the trafficking bill:

Loretta Lynch is extremely qualified to be the next U.S. Attorney General.

Abortion language in a human trafficking bill is unnecessary to the good work this legislation would produce.

It is as simple as that. One issue should have nothing to do with the other. But because the U.S. Senate is involved, the issues have been linked, and what we've witnessed is a business-as-usual congressional hot mess.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised a vote on the president's nominee to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder would happen this week. But on Sunday, he said this would be delayed to take up the human trafficking bill by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.


Lynch's qualifications are not questioned. She has been a federal prosecutor and is now a U.S. Attorney in New York.

The most expedient route to both passage of this bill and to confirmation for the next Attorney General lies in dropping the abortion language. Failing that, the Senate has two choices: Proving it can chew gum and walk at the same time -- considering the bill and having a speedy vote on Lynch -- or compromise on the abortion language.

It's a toss-up whether this Senate is up to either task, but it should at least try. [San Antonio Express-News, 3/19/15]