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Loretta Lynch confirmed as 83rd attorney general

By
Danielle Haynes
Loretta Lynch was confirmed Thursday as the 83rd attorney general. File photo by Pete Marovich/UPI
Loretta Lynch was confirmed Thursday as the 83rd attorney general. File photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, April 23 (UPI) -- More than five months after her nomination, Loretta Lynch was confirmed by the Senate to the post of attorney general Thursday.

The Senate voted largely along party lines to confirm the U.S. attorney to the position, 56 to 43.

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Lynch, 55, is the first African-American woman to hold the title of attorney general.

Her confirmation was held up for more than five months after President Barack Obama nominated her.

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First, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, threatened to block her in November since so many members of the 113th Congress had lost their seats in the recent election.

It's no secret that Republican senators were on the fence about Lynch; many wanted her to disapprove of Obama's executive action on immigration.

Her nomination then was held up by an anti-abortion provision in a human-trafficking bill in March. That bill was passed Wednesday night, paving the way for Lynch's confirmation.

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Lynch was first appointed as U.S. attorney by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and again by Obama in 2010.

In 2010, she was confirmed in the Senate by voice vote, meaning her nomination was uncontroversial. She is known for her successful prosecution in 1997 of a white police officer who sodomized Haitian immigrant Abner Louima with a broken broomstick, a case that became a symbol of police brutality.

In her role as U.S. attorney, she oversees cases in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island, including many terrorism cases that have given her experience dealing with matters of national security. She also chairs the Attorney General's Advisory Committee, a group of U.S. Attorneys who advise the attorney general.

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Ten Republicans voted for Lynch, including Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Ron Johnson of Minnesota, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Rob Portman of Ohio.

Cruz did not vote.

"Ms. Lynch is a well-respected U.S. attorney with a proven record and significant experience handling difficult cases," Ayotte said in a statement. "After meeting with her and reviewing her qualifications, I believe she is clearly qualified and has the necessary experience to serve as attorney general."

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