01.28.15

SCHUMER INTRODUCES ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE, LORETTA LYNCH, TO THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer introduced Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch to the Senate Judiciary Committee, on the first day of her nomination hearing. Senator Schumer previously nominated Ms. Loretta Lynch twice for her current position as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

 “If there is an American dream story, Ms. Lynch is it,” Senator Schumer said. “...[As the Eastern District prosecutor] she found her calling handling some of the toughest litigation cases in the country: on cybercrime, public corruption, financial fraud, police abuse and gang activity, organized crime and especially terrorism. When you look at the breadth and depth of the cases she’s handled, it’s clear that Loretta Lynch is law enforcement’s Renaissance woman.”

Schumer continued, “…When we move to a vote, hopefully sooner rather than later, you won’t be voting for or against the President’s policies, you’ll be voting on this eminently qualified law enforcement professional, a first-rate legal mind and someone who is committed in her bones to the equal application of justice for all people.”

A copy of Senator Schumer’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, appear below:

Thank you Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Leahy and members of the committee. It is my great privilege to introduce Loretta Lynch, a proud New Yorker and the nominee to be the next Attorney General of the United States. Born in North Carolina, her father was a fourth-generation Baptist minister, a man who grew up in the segregated South, and her mother picked cotton when she was a girl so her daughter never would have to. Well, their daughter grew up to be one of the keenest legal minds our country has to offer, someone who excelled at every stage of her education and her career while cultivating a reputation as someone who is levelheaded, fair, judicious, and eminently likeable.

If there is an American dream story, Ms. Lynch is it. 

Still, despite her intellectual and career achievements, Ms. Lynch has always been a nose-to-the-grindstone type; rarely seeking acclaim, only a job well-done. She has earned a reputation for keeping her head down and avoiding the spotlight – just like me. At just over 5 foot and with her consistently understated approach to the public spotlight – some might underestimate Ms. Lynch. But, as hundreds of criminals have learned the hard way, looks can be deceiving and Ms. Lynch packs a powerful punch. Throughout her career, she has had a yearning to serve the public, which began when she took a 75% pay cut to join the Eastern District as a prosecutor.

There she found her calling handling some of the toughest litigation cases in the country: on cybercrime, public corruption, financial fraud, police abuse and gang activity, organized crime and especially terrorism. When you look at the breadth and depth of the cases she’s handled, it’s clear that Loretta Lynch is law enforcement’s Renaissance woman.

In 1999, Ms. Lynch was a member of the prosecution team in the famous Abner Louima case, convicting police officers who horribly abused a Haitian-immigrant. As we have recently seen, these types of cases can create great tension between the police and the community.  But despite the high-running emotions that accompanied this notorious case, Ms. Lynch was praised by lawyers on both sides, as well as community leaders and police officials, for her judicious, balanced and careful approach. 

And one other point about Ms. Lynch – with apologies to my friend from North Carolina Mr. Tillis, but she is not a tar heel or a blue devil, she is a die-hard New York Knicks fan. Talk about perseverance and loyalty in the face of incredible adversity.


Mr. Chairmen, members of the Committee, in this age of global terrorism, the AG’s role in national security has never been more important. It makes it apparent that confirmation of a new Attorney General cannot and should not be delayed any longer. But today we have already heard – and will hear a lot more – about issues completely unrelated to her experience or her qualifications. If anything, that goes to show just how qualified she is.  No-one can assail Loretta Lynch, and no one has – who she is, what she has done, and how good an Attorney General she would be.  So instead, some are trying to drag extraneous issues – like the executive orders on immigration, or the IRS – into the fray to challenge her nomination because they can’t find anything in her record to point to.

Let me be clear: Attempts to politicize this nomination, to turn this exceptional nominee into a political point-scoring exercise – are a disservice to the qualified candidate we have before us today. You would think, after years of railing against the current Attorney General, Republicans would be eager – eager – to replace the position with a person like Ms. Lynch, someone who was twice unanimously approved by this committee and the United States Senate to lead the Eastern District.


I originally recommended Loretta Lynch for the position of US Attorney in the Eastern District in 1999 because I thought she was excellent; sure enough, she was.  When President Bush took office, Ms. Lynch went to the private sector to earn some money.   But when I had the opportunity to recommend a candidate to President Obama, I was certain that I wanted Ms. Lynch to serve again. So I called her on a Friday afternoon – I was confident that with the weekend to think it over, she would be drawn to answer the call to public service.  And sure enough, her commitment to public service was so strong, that she called me back on Monday to say yes. She passed unanimously out of the Senate twice already; wouldn’t it be nice if she passed unanimously a third time?  Based on her record, she should.


You don’t just have to take my word that Loretta Lynch is the right woman for the job.  Let me read you a few things that have been said about Ms. Lynch: “This is the person who should be the most acceptable to the right wing of the Republicans in this country... She is a straight shooter.” (Nov. 11, 2014). And here’s another quote: “She is [a] hero and I'm happy that she is the new attorney general.” (Jan. 22, 2015). These comments are not from left-wing activists, law professors, lawyers in Ms. Lynch’s office or any of my Democratic colleagues. The first quote is Megyn Kelly and the second is Bill O’Reilly, two of the most conservative voices in the media who are not at all afraid to attack the current Attorney General. 

So if we can’t confirm Loretta Lynch, then I don’t believe we can confirm anyone. And I would like to remind my colleagues: that the President’s immigration policies or IRS policies are not seeking confirmation today; Loretta Lynch is.


When we move to a vote, hopefully sooner rather than later, you won’t be voting for or against the President’s policies, you’ll be voting on this eminently qualified law enforcement professional, a first-rate legal mind and someone who is committed in her bones to the equal application of justice for all people.


Thank you Mr. Chairman.


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