Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) invoked a famous African-American woman to make a point about the unfairness of the delay in confirming the first African-American woman as U.S. Attorney General.
“And so, Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar,” Durbin said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning. “That is unfair. It’s unjust. It is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate. This woman deserves fairness.”
Durbin, of course, was comparing Lynch to Rosa Parks, the civil rights icon who in 1955 refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger.
Lynch was nominated in November 2014, but the GOP-controlled Senate has held up her confirmation, holding her nomination hostage to make points, first about their disagreement over President Obama’s immigration executive action and now about a sex trafficking bill that Democrats oppose over abortion restrictions.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had planned to bring Lynch’s nomination up for a vote this week, but now that seems unlikely. It’s unclear whether she’ll receive a vote next week. After that, the Senate takes its (well-deserved?) spring break.
Lynch has waited longer than any attorney general nominee to get confirmed other than President Ronald Reagan’s pick, Edwin Meese III. But the year-long hold up over Meese was due to investigations into his finances. For Lynch, it has nothing to do with her qualifications.
While Attorney General Eric Holder had said he would stay on until his successor was confirmed, he’s already had his “good-bye” event and his official portrait unveiling and we’re hearing chatter that he might be thinking about leaving early. (If six months after you wanted to leave can be considered early.)
On Wednesday, Holder joked about how strange it is that Republicans’ refusal to confirm Lynch only means he stays on longer, according to the Huffington Post.
“It’s almost as if the Republicans in Congress have discovered a new fondness for me,” Holder reportedly said. “Where was all this affection the last six years?”