Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been eager to express his frustration with how Loretta Lynch has been treated by the Republican majority. “I’ve been here 40 years and no attorney general – no attorney general – has ever had to wait this long for a vote,” he said this week.
Lynch’s wait, however, may soon be over.
After a lengthy confirmation hearing process, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 Thursday to advance the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be U.S. attorney general. The full Senate will likely vote on her nomination next month.Three Republicans joined all the Democrats on the committee in endorsing Lynch as America’s next top law enforcement officer. Those included Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.
There was some doubt about whether Lynch would get committee support, though she needed three Republican votes today and that’s exactly what she received. On the Senate floor, the A.G. nominee will need at least five GOP votes to get confirmed, which means finding two more Republicans, assuming Hatch, Graham, and Flake don’t change their minds.
At this point, I’d say her odds are quite good. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has suggested she’s likely to back Lynch, as might Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).
That said, none of this has been – or will be – easy. As Politico noted this morning, several Republican senators who met privately with Lynch and said they were inclined to support her – a group that includes John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), among others – have since reversed course without explanation.
After sailing through her confirmation hearings, Lynch appeared to be on track for an easy confirmation vote. For reasons even Republicans struggle to explain, she’s now just hoping for a narrow majority.
For more on Lynch, note Rachel’s segment from last night, which obviously pre-dates today’s Judiciary Committee vote.