Dr. E. Faye Williams President, National Congress of Black Women
The debate on Loretta Lynch continues beyond human understanding. A simple review of politics in Washington since President Barack Obama has been President defies imagination. Cases in point are the 2014 nominations of Loretta Lynch for U.S. Attorney General and Ashton Carter for Secretary of Defense.
I, as I believe true for most Americans, consider chronological progression to be in line with the natural order of things. That is, 1 precedes 2; first come, first served. When Loretta Lynch, a Black woman, was nominated on November 8, 2014, I thought that she would complete the confirmation process far ahead of Ash Carter, a white male, who was nominated on December 5, 2014– almost one month after Lynch. How wrong I was!
Only those most infected with political animus could deny the qualifications of either of these nominees. Both have had distinguished careers in their respective fields. Equal opportunity—well, that’s another matter.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale with a double-major in Physics and Medieval History, a Rhodes Scholar, a former Harvard University professor of Science and International Affairs, and holds his doctorate in Theoretical Physics. During the Clinton Administration he served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy and, since 2009, has served the Obama Administration in executive Defense Department positions, most recently as Deputy Secretary of Defense. His was considered, and proved to be, a slam-dunk nomination.
Likewise, Loretta Lynch has had a distinguished academic career and sterling career in law and law enforcement. She received her BA in English and American Literature from Harvard and later a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. In 1990, she joined the Eastern District (NY) U.S. Attorney’s Office as a drug and violent-crime prosecutor. From 1994 to 1998, she served as Chief of the Long Island Office and from 1998 to 1999 was the Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of NY.
In 1999, she was nominated by President Clinton to serve as U.S. Attorney for the district. In 2010, President Obama nominated her to again serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of NY. She was approved by the Senate both times. During her latest tenure, she has been noted for prosecuting the securities violations of several major banks and for her aggressive prosecution of political corruption. She is far more qualified to be U.S. Attorney General than many of the critics are to do their jobs in the Senate. As for fitness, her character is impeccable!
The fact that escapes most is that President Obama can and should select cabinet officers who will assist him in the most efficient and effective execution of his job. These selections must be accomplished with the advice and consent of the Senate, but Senate tradition suggests that unless a nominee is unfit, which Loretta Lynch certainly is not, the President gets his choice. Instead of advice and consent, this Senate seems determined to frustrate the choice of the President in everything he does.
Has Senator Mitch McConnell forgotten that democracy and decency require a vote? Why won’t he do his job? Ms. Lynch deserves a full vote of the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee sent Ms. Lynch’s nomination to the full Senate. Importantly, eight Republican Senators, with nothing more than partisan interests, voted against her.
It’s time for people who believe in our democracy and the rules of the Senate to contact their two U.S. Senators and Speaker McConnell to demand a confirmation vote on Loretta Lynch as soon as they return to Washington. All of them can be reached by calling 202/225-3121 and asking the operator for the Senator being called.
Faye Williams, MPA, PhD, D.Min, Esq.
President/CEO, National Congress of Black Women, Inc.
1250 4th Street, SW, Suite WG-1, Washington, DC 20024