Updated Saturday, Nov. 8, 12:15 p.m. EST: President Barack Obama Saturday nominated U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to replace outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. He described her as a “tough, fair and independent” lawyer.
“Lynch has prosecuted ‘mobsters and lawyers and terrorists, and still has the reputation for being a charming people person,’” Obama said a news conference in the Roosevelt Room in the White House, according to NBC News. “It’s pretty hard to be more qualified for this job than Loretta.”
Holder also expressed praise for Lynch.
“Loretta Lynch is an extraordinarily talented attorney, a dedicated public servant, and a leader of considerable experience and consummate skill,” he said in a prepared statement. “I am certain that she will be an outstanding Attorney General, and I am delighted to join President Obama in congratulating her on this prestigious appointment.
“Throughout her career, and especially during her tenure as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York—during both the Clinton and Obama Administrations—Loretta has earned the trust and respect of Justice Department employees at every level, in Washington and throughout the country,” Holder said. “She is held in high regard by criminal justice, law enforcement, and civil rights leaders of all stripes. And from her time as a career attorney, prosecuting high-profile public corruption cases, to her leadership of sensitive financial fraud and national security investigations, she has proven her unwavering fidelity to the law—and her steadfast dedication to protecting the American people.”
While some waited on the edge of their seats for President Obama to nominate Loretta Lynch as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s replacement, some White House Twitter followers already knew the answer.
On Friday the White House sent out a tweet:
Before the tweet, speculation abounded about the highly anticipated announcement. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the 55-year-old Harvard Law School graduate would become the nation’s first black female attorney general.
As The Root noted earlier, Lynch’s notable cases include charges against the New York City Police Department officers who beat and sexually abused a Haitian immigrant, Abner Louima.
“Ms. Lynch is a strong, independent prosecutor who has twice led one of the most important U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the country,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement, according to the Washington Post.
Earnest said Holder and Lynch plan to join Obama in the Roosevelt Room on Saturday for the announcement of the nomination. “She will succeed Eric Holder, whose tenure has been marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal-justice reform and civil rights enforcement,” Earnest said, according to the Post.
Lynch was the least controversial of the final choices before the president, the Post notes, citing several government officials. She has been confirmed twice by the Senate. And she was respected for the way she conducted several high-profile cases without seeking publicity.
But the nomination could spark a battle on Capitol Hill, the report says. Republicans warned before the midterm election that they opposed approval of a nomination during a lame-duck session of Congress. Democrats, however, may decide to have the confirmation fight while they still have control of the Senate, the Post writes.
Read more at the Washington Post.