U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch sought to distance herself from outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder in the first day of her Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, emphasizing that the Constitution would be her guide if she becomes the first African-American woman to serve as U.S. Attorney General.
“It is that document and the ideals embodied therein to which I have devoted my professional life,” said Lynch in her prepared statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Senators, if confirmed as Attorney General, I pledge to you and to the American people that the Constitution, the bedrock of our system of justice, will be my lodestar as I exercise the power and responsibility of that position.”
Lynch, who is currently the top federal prosecutor for Brooklyn, New York, appeared eager to differentiate herself from Holder, who was frequently accused by congressional Republicans of prioritizing the administration’s political agenda over the rule of law.
For their part, the committee’s Republicans aimed to use the hearing to highlight their criticisms of Holder’s Justice Department and of the Obama administration broadly—especially on immigration and issues of executive power.