President Obama on Saturday introduced U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, the Harvard-educated daughter of a North Carolina librarian and a Baptist minister, as his choice for America’s top cop.
At the White House, Obama described Lynch as “tough, fair and independent.”
Soft-spoken but hard-punching, Lynch looks like an “excellent and historic choice” to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the New York Daily News says.
“Loretta might be the only lawyer in America who battles mobsters and drug lords and terrorists and still has the reputation for being a charming people person,” Obama said.
Wrapped up in Lynch’s nomination and timing of her confirmation are hard feelings in Congress left by Holder, and demands from some Republicans that the next AG immediately disavow Obama’s stated plan to use executive power by the end of the year to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants.
Obama, for his part, hopes Lynch can help cement part of his legacy as his presidency nears its end, including his campaign promise to close the terrorist at Guantanamo Bay and attempts to stop racial profiling by police.
For six years, Republicans feuded publicly and nearly constantly with Holder, holding him in contempt over what they called foot-dragging during the investigation into the failed “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking sting.
According to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Republicans want to be part of the nomination process as they seek a clean break from what many saw as an ideologically driven Holder era.
“I’m hopeful that Lynch’s tenure, if confirmed, will restore confidence in the Attorney General as a politically independent voice for the American people,” Grassley said.
Lynch, who is seen as a Washington outsider without ties to Obama’s inner circle, has been confirmed twice by the Senate for two stints as U.S. Attorney.
Patrik Jonsson is the Atlanta-based correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.