Yesterday, as John noted here, the Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Ten Republicans voted to confirm: Kelly Ayotte, Ron Johnson, Mark Kirk, Rob Portman, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and Orrin Hatch.
Ayotte, Johnson, Kirk, and Portman face difficult reelection campaigns in their Democrat-leaning or “50-50” states. Note, though, that Pat Toomey, who likely faces an extremely tough race, cast a principled vote against Lynch and the lawless Obama administration Justice Department should refused to distance herself from.
Susan Collins voted to confirm because she’s not a conservative.
Lindsey Graham voted to confirm because he’s the Arlen Specter of the South. Thad Cochran voted to confirm because he’s the Lindsey Graham of Mississippi.
Jeff Flake voted to confirm because he aspires to be the Lindsey Graham of Arizona. John McCain, Graham’s Arizona amigo, is running for reelection in a Red State. Back in full conservative mode, he voted against confirmation.
Mitch McConnell voted to confirm for deep “institutional” reasons that, no doubt, are beyond my power of comprehension. Orrin Hatch voted to confirm because at least one conservative who should know better always wanders off the reservation in cases like this.
Hatch has declared himself satisfied that Lynch “will be more independent than the current Attorney General and make strides toward recommitting the Department to the rule of law.” I estimate the probability that Lynch will clear this very low bar to be approximately zero percent.
Should Lynch want to surprise us, Bill Otis has come up with a list of ways to do so. My favorite is: “Don’t file Supreme Court briefs that lose 9-0.” Others include: “Respect the First Amendment” and “Don’t usurp congressional powers.”
I estimate the number of Bill’s suggestions that Lynch will follow to be approximately zero.