Top cop! Senate confirms Loretta Lynch as attorney general

Hey, Loretta! Brooklyn federal prosecutor tapped for attorney general
Associated Press / Carolyn Kaster

Lynch has clinched it!

The United States Senate on Thursday confirmed Loretta Lynch, Brooklyn’s top law enforcement official, as attorney general. Lynch will be the nation’s first African-American woman to serve in the post.

Elected officials in Lynch’s home district welcomed the confirmation with a flood of happy statements.

“She’s an extraordinary prosecutor, possesses great integrity and will be relentless in protecting the interests of the American people,” said District Attorney Ken Thompson, who previously served with Lynch in the United States Attorney’s office. “I have no doubt that Loretta will serve our nation with honor and distinction. As the first-ever African American woman to serve as attorney general, this is also a proud moment in our country’s history.”

Lawmakers approved Lynch, the current United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a 56–43 vote, to replace current Attorney General Eric Holder.

President Obama nominated Lynch in November, but the confirmation process dragged on far longer than usual — in part because many Republicans objected to her support of Obama’s immigration policies, according to a New York Times report. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R–Kentucky) also refused to hold the confirmation vote while the Senate was at loggerheads for weeks over an unrelated human trafficking bill. Senators finally passed the bill on Wednesday.

Lynch has served two stints as top prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York, first under the Clinton administration from 1999 to 2001 and again from 2010 through today. She worked at a private law firm during the Bush Administration in between the two gigs.

Lynch’s fans have championed her for holding law enforcement and public officials to account, citing her role in the civil rights prosecution of the NYPD officers responsible for torturing Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in the 70th Precinct station house in 1997 and the subsequent cover-up.

More recently, Lynch tackled several high-profile terrorism cases and made a point of pursuing crooked politicians including tax cheat and former congressman Michael Grimm, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to Lynch’s charge of federal tax evasion.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz