By Marc Morial
President & CEO, National Urban League
The confirmation of Loretta Lynch, the first African American woman to be nominated to be U.S. Attorney General, has been delayed longer than any Attorney General nominee in history.
Few individuals in history have been as qualified for the office as Ms. Lynch. Nearly 25 years ago, she began her legal career as a drug and violent-crime prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1990. She later served as the chief of the Long Island office and focused on political corruption. In 1999, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and oversaw the prosecution of New York City police officers in the Abner Louima case. After several years in the private sector, she returned to the position of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and served two years on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Her personal story is quintessentially American; born into the pre-Civil Rights Era South to a librarian and a minister, she grew up hearing stories of her grandfather helping people migrate north to escape persecution under the Jim Crow laws. From humble beginnings, she went on to earn both a Bachelor of Arts in English and American literature and Juris Doctor from Harvard University.
Last month, Urban League executives gathered in Washington, D.C., for the National Urban Leagueâ€™s annual Legislative Policy Conference. We met with our elected leaders and Administration officials to share the concerns of the people we serve. Among our most urgent requests: Confirm Loretta Lynch.
Ms. Lynchâ€™s experience and expertise are not in question. As partisan a Republican figure as former New York Mayor and Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has said, “If I were in the Senate, I would confirm her.”
The necessity for the Senate to proceed with her confirmation cannot be overstated. The Justice Department is one of the nationâ€™s most vital agencies and needs her strong leadership and expertise.