Column: Loretta Lynch’s nomination a backdrop for a more serious issue
Republicans and Democrats need to put aside their differences and have an official vote for Lynch
Apr. 22, 2015
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
The Senate is once again in political disarray.
On April 17, President Barack Obama ridiculed the Senate for postponing the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the next attorney general. It has been nearly six months that the vote has been in suspension since Obama nominated Lynch, the longest wait that a nominee has had to endure in three decades. Other senatorial issues that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has considered more pertinent have delayed the nomination vote.
If Lynch is voted into the position, she would become the first African-American woman to lead the U.S. Justice Department.
Lynch started with very strong support from the Republican and Democratic sides of the Senate when Obama nominated her. She seemed to sport strong credentials and impressive qualifications. However, she started to lose Republican senators’ support when she supported Obama’s immigration policies regarding undocumented immigrants during her confirmation hearing Jan. 28. Republicans feared that by voting for Lynch, they would be indirectly supporting Obama’s policies, which they are vehemently opposed to. In response, McConnell put off the vote.
Recently, McConnell has been using this nomination to solve a different dispute in the Senate surrounding an anti-human trafficking bill. This bill would help the prevention of women and children being sold into sex slavery. However, Democrats are filibustering the bill because it contains abortion provisions that they do not approve of. The Senate has voted five times to dismantle the filibuster, with Republicans losing by two votes of the 60 needed each time, according to The Washington Post. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the lead author of the anti-human trafficking bill, has incorporated amendments to address some Democratic concerns, but the abortion language still remains intact. McConnell has promised that Lynch’s nomination would be addressed soon, but an aide to Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has reported that no such deal is in place.
This behavior in a governmental organization is, frankly, unacceptable. The Senate is acting immature and childish. On one hand, there are the Republicans who refuse to vote in an appointed attorney general because they disagree with her views. On the other hand, the Democrats are preventing any method of compromise on the anti-human trafficking bill. Both sides of the Senate need to learn how to work together, instead of further polarizing the American political system.
However, this situation is not one-of-kind in recent years. During the first year of McConnell’s term, there have been many debilitating Senate disagreements between the two parties, such as over immigration reform and the Keystone XL pipeline. Over the past three months, the Senate has approved only one judicial nominee: a Texan district judge. McConnell realizes that he has the power to prevent certain presidential provisions from being enacted by manipulating the Senate.
Perhaps the most disappointing fact of this particular case is that the Republican-dominated Senate is preventing history from taking place, and they are quite aware of this fact. Republicans know that even if they vote against Lynch, she will still be put into office because their votes will be outnumbered. In retaliation, they have prevented her from even receiving the satisfaction of a vote. This also hurts the U.S. on an international scale, as it inhibits our country from becoming more diversified within our government. This further heightens concerns regarding racial discrimination in the country that has received international attention in recent months.
Loretta Lynch’s nomination needs to take place. It has been pushed back for far too long using ridiculous excuses. Her nomination has served as a broader problem that the Senate needs to resolve without involving her appointment. The Senate is in turmoil, and Lynch’s nomination is just one of the many manifestations of the chaos it represents.