In a move destined to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many Americans, the GOP-controlled Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch, currently U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, as United States Attorney General. The 56-43 vote occurred after a delay of more than five months, and Lynch was put over the top when 10 Republicans broke ranks with their colleagues to confirm Eric Holder’s successor. Those Republicans are Kelly Ayotte (NH), Orrin Hatch (UT), Lindsey Graham (SC), Susan Collins (ME), Jeff Flake (AZ), Mark Kirk (IL), Rob Portman (OH), Thad Cochran (MS), Ron Johnson (WI) and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (KY). “Today, the Senate finally confirmed Loretta Lynch to be America’s next Attorney General — and America will be better off for it,” said President Obama in a statement.
Hardly. As Lynch made painfully clear during her pre-confirmation hearings, she is more than prepared to kick the Constitution to the curb in pursuit of Obama’s agenda, especially with regard to illegal immigration.
There were several legitimate reasons not to confirm her. During questioning by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Lynch made it clear she believes the “right and the obligation to work is shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here.” Lynch also refused to answer Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) question regarding whether is it constitutional for the federal government to take out an American citizen on U.S. soil with a drone strike, absent an imminent threat.
Lynch also opposes voter ID laws because they ostensibly disenfranchise voters. That position puts her squarely at odds with a 2008 Supreme Court decision that such laws did not place an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, as a well as a 2013 decision vacating Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act that required states to get “pre-clearance” from the Dept. of Justice prior to changing their voting laws, due to historic racism. Like Holder, Lynch also views law enforcement through the prism of race, insisting in 2000 that “the onus is on law enforcement because we are the ones who have taken the oath to protect and to serve the people of this city. And we are the ones who have the ability to change from within.” A year later she derided New York City’s epic crime drop and the police force that precipitated it. “While crime is down, there is a large part of our community that still does not feel safe,” she said. “And that means that law enforcement has not done its job, no matter what the numbers say.”
Her position on civil forfeiture laws is troubling as well. In January, she signed off on a settlement that returned $447,000 to Bi-County Distributors, a Long island business targeted for nothing more than a suspicious pattern of bank deposits. The feds held the money for almost three years, during which time owners Jeffrey, Richard, and Mitch Hirsch never got a hearing before a judge, and no criminal charges were filed. Instead they got a series of offers from Lynch’s office to return part of the money—until the negative publicity threatened to derail Lynch’s nomination. Nonetheless, Lynch characterized civil forfeiture as a “wonderful tool” and that innocent people needn’t worry about it because “is done pursuant to supervision by a court,” and “the protections are there.”
The Senate also turned a blind eye to Lynch’s role in a possible coverup involving banking giant HSBC. The bank was engaged in a massive money laundering scheme with Latin American drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists. Lynch allowed the bank to enter into a “deferred prosecution” settlement that garnered $1.9 billion in fines and the admission of “willful criminal conduct.” But in exchange, she agreed not to pursue criminal investigations and prosecutions of HSBC directors or employees. Apparently the Senate was insufficiently moved by more than 1,000 pages of evidence and secret audio recordings presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee by HSBC whistleblower John Cruz, former HSBC vice president and relationship manager.
In short, the Senate has confirmed someone as racially polarizing and constitutionally contemptuous as Eric Holder.
No doubt some of the Republicans who voted for her believe that since the alternative to Lynch would be Holder remaining on board, they might as well replace the man who was held in contempt of Congress, hoping Lynch will turn out better. Or perhaps they took the advice of presumptive GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush who insisted “presidents have the right to pick their team in general.”
National Review’s Andrew McCarthy demolishes both arguments. First he notes that Senators take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and that Lynch “has forthrightly told the Senate, under oath, that she will undermine the Constitution.” Hence a vote in favor of Lynch “would plainly violate the senator’s oath.” As for Bush’s assertion, McCathy notes that while it is a guideline, that guideline is neither a rule nor a Constitutional obligation. If it were, it “would effectively nullify the Constitution’s advice-and-consent mandate that the Senate provide meaningful review of the president’s nominees”—again violating a Senator’s oath to uphold the Constitution.
What McCathy failed to mention is even clearer: “bork” is now a verb in the American lexicon, courtesy of a successful Senate campaign led by Ted Kennedy leading to the rejection of President Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee. Judge Robert H. Bork.
Even with Lynch’s confirmation, Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) remained as ungracious as ever. “She is a historic nominee, but also Senate Republicans are making history, and I would say for the wrong reasons,” he stated. “I can only hope that Senate Republicans will show her more respect as the attorney general of the United States than they did as a nominee. She has earned this respect. Her story is one of perseverance, of grace and grit.”
Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) doubled down, with Schumer insisting “there is one cloud on this sunny day and that is the long time it took to confirm her,” while Durbin claimed Republicans made Lynch “sit in the back of the bus.”
The delay in the confirmation vote was due in large part to partisan disagreements regarding a human trafficking bill and the abortion restrictions it contained. A compromise was reached Monday and the bill passed the Senate 99-0 on Wednesday.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the only Senator who missed the vote, harshly criticized McConnell and Senate leaders for allowing the nomination vote to proceed. “The Republican majority, if it so chose, could defeat this nomination,” he said. “I would note there are a few voters back home that are asking what exactly is the difference between a Democratic and Republican majority.”
As Lynch’s confirmation indicates, not much. And it is likely there are far more than a few voters asking themselves why they bothered to hand the GOP a majority in both Houses of Congress in the 2014 election. Their landslide victory was due in large part to President Obama himself declaring that while he was not on the ballot, his policies were. “Every one of them,” he said in a speech delivered last October.
The electorate clearly rejected those policies, yet the GOP has done virtually nothing to derail this president and his unconstitutional agenda, especially with regard to executive amnesty for illegal aliens. Adding insult to injury Republicans helped to confirm Lynch one day after it was reported that U.S. Census data reveal legal and illegal immigrants will reach a record high of 51 million by 2023 and account for a whopping 82 percent of all population growth in America. The public’s ire will be further exacerbated by the reality that middle class wages have dropped below 1970s levels even as immigration has skyrocketed by 325 percent between 1970 and 2013.
Those wondering why the GOP would help nominate someone who would facilitate Democrats’ immigration agenda need look no further than their reaction to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s assertion that the “next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal-immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, protecting American workers and American wages.” Sen. Orrin Hatch called it “poppycock.” Sens. Rob Portman, John McCain and John Thune (R-SD) agreed, with Thune insisting “a robust legal immigration process helps us fill jobs that otherwise wouldn’t be getting filled.” Hatch pointed to the need for “awful lot more STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] people.”
That last bit flies in the face of Congressional testimony made by displaced STEM workers, one of whom was forced to train his own replacement in a job he had held for 15 years. Breitbart News aptly described what both political parties are staunchly behind. “Congress’s message to any American worker making more than $60,000 year is: ‘your job is up for grabs,’” they state.
Loretta Lynch made it plain she will facilitate that effort. A majority of Senators, including 10 feckless Republicans more than willing to aid the Democrat party and President Obama’s despicable immigration agenda, are on board as well. As for Lynch herself, the lyrics of a song by The Who says it all: meet the new boss—same as the old boss.
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