Despite telling a panel of key senators that the Constitution would be her “lodestar” in making decisions if she becomes the nation’s next attorney general, Loretta Lynch today defended the legality of President Obama’s executive action on amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The 55-year-old woman who could become the first black female to serve as the country’s chief law enforcement officer told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had reviewed the legal rationale behind Obama’s sweeping executive orders that have infuriated conservatives.
“I don’t see any reason to doubt the reasonableness of those views,” Lynch told the panel that’s now considering her nomination, according to a report on Politico.
Congressional Republicans enraged at Obama’s actions were preparing to make Lynch’s confirmation battle a broader war over the administration’s immigration policies.
Democrats argued that Obama’s actions on immigration should not play any role in whether Lynch is confirmed, and that she should be judged on her own merits.
Currently a federal prosecutor in the state of New York, Lynch appears headed for confirmation by the GOP-controlled Senate in spite of her expressed view that Obama acted lawfully in making broad changes to immigration law and claiming to base his controversial moves on the principle of “prosecutorial discretion.”
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That presidential action has been staunchly defended by Eric Holder, who has said he will stay on in the top post at the Justice Department until his replacement is confirmed.
The New York Times coverage of the Lynch nomination and confirmation process notes that Obama’s unilateral move to change the legal status of millions of illegal immigrants could sway some votes of GOP members of the committee.
Besides Mr. [Charles] Grassley, Republican committee members include Senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and David Vitter of Louisiana, all of whom have expressed outrage over the president’s actions on immigration and his exercise of executive power in general.
Mr. Vitter has already said he will oppose Ms. Lynch’s nomination, and Mr. Sessions has said he has strong reservations.
Republican senators who have indicated they would likely vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as the country’s next attorney general include Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.