The news shouldn’t be surprising; Senate leadership has once again pushed back any prospect of a confirmation vote for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch. The situation as it stands in the wake of reports that mid-April will be the earliest possibility for a vote:
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday, “The continued delay is unconscionable.”
Note, the problem is not that Republicans have imposed a blanket blockade on all confirmation votes. On the contrary, since Lynch was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support on Feb. 26, the GOP majority has confirmed four Obama administration nominees, including one yesterday. Republicans have also allowed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s nomination to reach the floor, despite the fact that Carter was nominated after Lynch.
But the A.G. nominee, for reasons Republicans have struggled to explain, is being denied an up-or-down vote, even though Lynch appears to have the votes necessary for confirmation.
All of this has unfolded despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) public vow that he would allow a vote on Lynch last week – a commitment he has since broken.
As of this morning, Lynch was nominated 136 days ago. As we discussed last week, the first African-American woman ever considered for this post has waited longer for a vote than any A.G. nominee in history, and longer than the last five A.G. nominees combined. Even her fiercest critics have failed to raise substantive objections to her qualifications, background, temperament, or judgment.
What we have here is another example of the Republican thesis that government does not and cannot work. And what we have here is also another example of Republicans trying to prove the thesis by deliberately botching up basic governance.
No, really, how is any of that actually surprising?
Image note: Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to be the next attorney general, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Benen, Steve. “Senate GOP delaying Lynch nomination (again)”. msnbc. 24 March 2015.