Is Loretta Lynch appreciably better than Eric Holder?

Senate Republicans reportedly are divided over the nomination of Loretta Lynch to succeed Eric Holder as Attorney General. The source of the division is President Obama’s executive amnesty. Jeff Sessions has said, “I don’t see how a person can serve as attorney general if they’re going to participate in a massive nullification of American law.” Under this sensible view, Lynch should be rejected unless her testimony persuades Senators that she opposes and will not be a party to the nullification.

But it will take only a few Republican votes in Lynch’s favor to confirm her. And several Republicans have already expressed an inclination to vote to confirm.

Naturally, Lindsey Graham, true to his role as the Arlen Specter of the South, is among them. He calls Lynch “a good, solid choice” and says the country needs an attorney general.

Orrin Hatch also seems favorably disposed. He says, “a lot of these Republicans feel the current attorney general is not doing the job the way he should. So they ought to be happy to get somebody there who could.”

But should we conclude that Lynch will do the job the way she should? This to me is the key question.

To answer it, we must first correctly diagnose the problem with Eric Holder’s tenure. It isn’t that Holder is a bad person (he may or may not be). And it isn’t mainly that he’s incompetent (at times he has been).

The big problem with Holder is that he’s a left-wing ideologue who sees nearly everything through the lens of race. He has Daily Caller, Obama announced his choice of Lynch just two days after Obama’s post-election meeting with Al Sharpton and weeks after Lynch’s own meeting with Sharpton.

A second is Lynch’s ties with Holder himself and her endorsement of his civil rights agenda.

Then, there is Lynch’s take on the abusive prosecution of white Duke lacrosse team members on bogus rape charges leveled by a black female. In September 2007, Lynch appeared on a panel at Duke. By that time, Michael Nifong, the infamous prosecutor in the case, had been found guilty of criminal contempt of court.

Here, via Peter Flaherty, is what Lynch had to say in response to a question about the lessons to be learned from Nifong’s egregious attempts to try his fake case in the press:

So I approached it from the view of a former prosecutor but also someone who grew up in Durham. And I’m very familiar with sort of both sides of the community.

And there is a bit of a community divide whenever there’s a large campus in town, but I think that one of the things that we look at from the Nifong case is how do you find that balance as a prosecutor between how you deal with the press, since that is the focus of this conference, between, obviously, things that should not be said but obviously… but also the very real responsibilities that prosecutors have to interact with the process. . . .

So I think those are some of the first lessons that we learn from that, is the need for further study and the need for better training and the need to find that balance.

Lynch thus failed to denounce Nifong’s conduct. And to the extent that she thought his abusive efforts to try his case through the media might be problematic, Lynch seems have attributed it to a lack of training. But Nifong acted as he did for political reasons, not because he missed the training session where they tell prosecutors not to be unethical.

Substance isn’t the only problem with Lynch’s comments. Notice how her initial response to the question immediately focuses on her status as “someone who grew up in Durham.” Oh, for the days when unethical conduct was unethical conduct regardless of where you grew up.

And Lynch was only getting started with her biographical relativism. Later she said:

I guess where you stand depends on where you sit – but even with the statements as a DA I’m going to be tough on crime, there are people who take that and have taken it for years because it has meant for years I’m going to be tougher on African Americans, depending upon the context, depending upon what else is being said in an election, depending upon what other issues are brought out there.

So there are times when these statements need further explanation because on the surface they say one thing but people really hear something else, and it’s informed completely by their environment and often their history.

Eric Holder couldn’t have said it better. Do we really want another head of the Department of Justice who believes that “where you stand depends on where you sit” and who, by where you sit, generally means what your race is?

I consider the matters I have raised here suggestive, rather than dispositive. So too, I think, are the additional matters raised by M. Catherine Evans in this post.

But even the suggestion that Lynch shares Eric Holder’s warped, race-continent view of the law, and of the proper role of the Attorney General, should shake Senate Republicans out of their complacency over her nomination.

Responses