Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch survived a Judiciary Committee vote with help from the GOP earlier today. Lynch’s nomination made it out of the committee on a 12-8 vote, with pivotal support from three Republicans: Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley opposed Lynch’s nomination, but added that he expects she will still be confirmed. Grassley cited Lynch’s apparent unwillingness to act independently as his primary cause for concern.
“After thoroughly reviewing Ms. Lynch’s testimony, both before the committee and in written follow-up questions, I remain unconvinced she will lead the department in a different direction,” Grassley said. “I sincerely hope Ms. Lynch proves me wrong and is willing to stand up to the President and say ‘No’ when the duty of the office demands it. But based on my review of the record, I cannot support the nomination.”
Despite his opposition, Grassley admitted that if Lynch had signaled a willingness to lead the Justice Department in a different direction, she would have garnered much more support among Republicans.
But Lynch still would not have garnered support from the conservatives who are outspoken against the president’s executive actions on immigration. Louisiana senator David Vitter and Alabama senator Jeff Sessions both opposed Lynch’s nomination, and called on others to do the same, because of Lynch’s support for the executive actions.
“Attorneys General do not swear an oath to the President; they swear an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Vitter said. “Based on her responses regarding President Obama’s executive action, it is clear that Ms. Lynch will not stand up to the lawlessness of President Obama.”