Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch — is there a meaningful difference?

The nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General elicited praise from many familiar with her work as a prosecutor. From some conservatives, it brought relief that President Obama hadn’t nominated Tom Perez. And nearly everyone is relieved that Eric Holder will depart.

But there was a time when Holder received the same kind of praise Lynch is getting now. Indeed, he was something of a golden boy during his time as a prosecutor. It was only after he obtained significant administrative power that Holder revealed himself as a lawless left-wing ideologue and race-monger.

We don’t yet know whether Lynch, if installed at DOJ headquarters, would dupblicate Holder’s lawlessness. But, as Hans von Spakovsky shows, there is evidence that she shares the left-wing mindset that induced Holder to act as he did.

Von Spakovsky identifies three broad issues of concurrence between Holder and Lynch. The first is voter ID:

In a speech. . .in January, Lynch claimed that efforts to improve the integrity of the election process were an attempt “to take back” what Martin Luther King, Jr. had fought for, and that state legislatures were trying to “reverse” the gains made in voting. Lynch made it clear she approved of the Justice Department’s lawsuits against states such as North Carolina to stop voter ID laws and changes in early voting and same-day registration rules. . . .

Lynch delivered this speech in front of a picture of Nelson Mandela. Ironically, says von Spakovsky, South Africa has a much stricter voter ID requirement than North Carolina, and Mandela supported it.

The second area in which Lynch’s views seem indistinguishable from Holder’s is the death penalty. She considers it “racist.” In fact, Lynch would oppose the death penalty even if all of the “problems” with it could be fixed because of its supposed disparate impact on minorities.

As Lynch put it, “You can be as fair as possible in a particular case, but the reality is that the federal death penalty is going to hit harder on certain groups.” But assuming no other “problems,” the groups “hit harder” would be those (if any) whose members disproportionately commit the very most heinous crimes, and only the individuals within those groups who commit them would be affected.

Lynch’s radical position on the death penalty strongly suggests that she backs the Holder DOJ’s aggressive use of “disparate impact” theory to impose equal outcomes even in the absence of any evidence of intentional discrimination. As the Wall Street Journal has pointed out, Holder used disparate impact theory to coerce settlements from banks and other businesses based on statistics but no proof of discrimination.” The theory has also been used in housing cases and even to attack school discipline policies.

I hope that during Senate confirmation hearings, Lynch will be asked specifically about each issue as to which the Holder DOJ has applied or considered applying disparate impact theory.

More generally, Senators should ask for Lynch’s views on the full range of Holder’s abusive behavior: from his refusal to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, to his refusal to enforce the contempt citation issued by the House against Lois Lerner, to his overly broad assertion of a privilege claim and refusal to turn over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.

As von Spakovsky reminds us, Lynch has been a member of the attorney general’s advisory committee of U.S. attorneys. But even if Lynch did not advise Holder on these matters, her opinions about them (assuming she expresses them honestly) would help tell us whether she is fit to serve as Attorney General of the United States.

Eric Holder has done great damage to the rule of law. The Senate should not confirm Lynch unless she can show that there is meaningful difference between her and the man whom she would replace.

Responses