Loretta Lynch Becomes First Black Woman Attorney General: Confirmed By Senate Five Months After Nomination

Loretta Lynch became the first black woman U.S. attorney general when she was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday. The New York Times reported that the vote of 56-43 ended a five-month wait from the time she was nominated by President Barack Obama last November to the time she was actually confirmed.

Lynch’s wait was the longest wait in 31 years for the same position. It was longer for Lynch than the combined time for the last seven people who were confirmed before her.

The vote was much wider than anyone expected. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of 10 Republicans who cast their vote for Lynch. The Senate’s 44 Democrats and two independents supported the Lynch’s confirmation. Forty-three senators who opposed the confirmation were all Republicans.

The Washington Post reported that the 55-year-old woman starts her job on Monday after she is sworn in. Then she will take over the Justice Department from Attorney General Eric Holder. As attorney general, Lynch will likely be confronted with civil rights cases because of so many recent incidents resulting in deaths of black men by white policemen. Lynch will also have to sort out financial cases involving some of the world’s largest banks.

Lynch is qualified for the position. She graduated from Harvard College and received her law degree from Harvard Law School. She served twice as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Her first appointment was under President Bill Clinton and beginning again under President Obama.

Lynch’s confirmation delay was not because of her qualifications, character, or race. Many politicians believe the deadlock was because of the feud between the Republicans and Democrats. When Lynch was nominated last November to replace Holder, Republicans did not act on the nomination right away.

President Obama vows to support Lynch because he has confident in her and what she stands for. He said in a statement that “America will be better off” with Lynch in charge of the Justice Department.

“She will bring to bear her experience as a tough, independent, and well-respected prosecutor on key, bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform.”

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is leaving the position after more than six years. He also believes Lynch is the right person for the position. He said she is “a dedicated guardian of the Constitution, and a devoted champion of all those whom the law protects and empowers.”

Now that Loretta Lynch has finally been confirmed, congratulations are in order.

[Image by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]