Take the last seven U.S. Attorney General nominees and add together how long they had to collectively wait for a confirmation vote. Then double that total. Loretta Lynch has waited longer than that.
President Obama’s nominee to replace Eric Holder has now been waiting 159 days – nearly 23 weeks – and everyone involved in the process agrees that Lynch has the votes necessary to prevail.
But the Senate Republican leadership, which is allowing other confirmation votes, still won’t allow members to vote on Lynch. As Politico reported, some civil-rights advocates are taking their frustrations to the next level.
Loretta Lynch’s allies are launching a hunger strike until she’s confirmed as attorney general, but they could be waiting weeks if Republicans follow through on their threat to delay Lynch even longer. […]The advocacy group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, along with female civil-rights leaders, are planning the hunger strike, in which groups of fasters will alternate days abstaining from food until Lynch is confirmed to replace Eric Holder at the Justice Department.
Sharpton, of course, is the host of msnbc’s “Politics Nation.”
GOP leaders continue to insist that Lynch, who’s being subjected to treatment without precedent in Senate history, will not receive a vote until Democrats meet the Republicans’ demands: advancing an unrelated bill with anti-abortion language in it. The Democratic minority said again yesterday that holding Lynch’s nomination hostage like this is ridiculous – a position that has the benefit of being true.
Making matters slightly worse, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said yesterday the chamber will soon move on to a measure related to Iran policy, which means delaying work on the human-trafficking bill, which in turn means delaying Lynch even further.
Remember, this has never happened before. We’ve never had a cabinet nominee sail through confirmation hearings, get voted out of committee, secure the votes necessary for success, but then face a hostage-style gambit imposed by the Senate majority. This isn’t politics as usual – it’s much, much worse.
Let’s also not forget that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) publicly vowed to bring Lynch to the floor the week of March 16. He then broke his word, and a month later, he’s still offered no explanation for promising one thing and delivering another.
This is the same Mitch McConnell who personally condemned Senate Democrats in the Bush/Cheney era for delaying a vote on an A.G. nominee for seven weeks. Lynch’s delay is now more than three times as long – despite the fact that Republicans have raised no substantive objections to Lynch, her background, her qualifications, her credentials, or her temperament.
If there’s a defense for such irresponsible behavior, I can’t think of it.