In early November, President Obama announced his nominee to succeed Eric Holder, the current Attorney General of the United States. His pick? Loretta Lynch, the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, including Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island.
This is exciting! Lynch would be the first woman of color to hold the position. Right now, she’s undergoing a hearing from the Senate Judiciary Committee on her nomination, and getting grilled by senators about her background. So what do you need to know about Lynch? And, wait a sec, what does the Attorney General do?
Let’s start with the second question first. The Attorney General is basically like lawyer #1 in these United States. They head up the Department of Justice and serve as the chief law enforcement officer for the Federal Government. They also advise the President on all things legal, and represent the U.S. in legal matters. It’s a massive job. Now, on to question two.
Lynch grew up in North Carolina, the daughter of a Baptist minister and a school librarian. She graduated from Harvard with a degree in literature and went to law school at Harvard, too. She joined the Eastern District of New York as a prosecutor in 1990 and steadily worked her way up.
As for her legal opinions, Lynch is now being grilled by the Senate on them. She’s come out strongly in favor of the rights of illegal immigrants. “Certainly, if someone is here — regardless of status — I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace,” Lynch said. “I believe the right and the obligation to work is one that is shared by everyone in this country, regardless of how they came here.”
But she’s also come out as more conservative on prosecuting marijuana possession than Obama. “I can tell you that not only do I not support legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support legalization, nor would it be the position if I were confirmed as Attorney General.”
Even taking into account her differences with the administration, Lynch has strong support from the President and his cabinet. She’s rumored to be the personal pick of Eric Holder for the position. If she’s confirmed, it’ll be the first time in almost two centuries that the President has elevated a U.S. attorney directly to an Attorney General. But guys? It sure seems like she could handle it.
Also when asked how she would be different than her predecessor as Attorney General she gave basically the best answer in the history of answers: “If confirmed as Attorney General, I would be myself. I would be Loretta Lynch.” Boss.