Under the Dome

US House Democrats from NC urge state's senators to vote for Loretta Lynch as attorney general

Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois says Republicans are forcing attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch to “sit in the back of the bus.”
Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois says Republicans are forcing attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch to “sit in the back of the bus.” The Associated Press

Three North Carolina Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to the state's two Republican senators on Friday, urging them to “stand on the right side of history” and vote for the North Carolina native Loretta Lynch as attorney general.

Both Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis have said they’ll vote against Lynch. The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate has been using her confirmation vote as leverage to try to get Democrats to vote for a human trafficking bill that contains a provision that bans abortion funding.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate won’t vote on Lynch’s confirmation until after the dispute is resolved. The vote now is delayed until at least mid-April, when the Senate returns from a two-week break.

Lynch, who was born in Greensboro and grew up in Durham, would be the first African-American woman to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

“We recognize that as members of the Senate it is your duty to ensure that our attorney general meets the qualifications for this important position. This is a sacred duty that must be taken seriously. That is why we ask that you judge Ms. Lynch’s nomination solely on her qualifications and not allow partisan distractions to cloud your judgements,” the letter to Tillis and Burr said. It was signed by U.S. Reps. David Price, G.K. Butterfield and Alma Adams.

In the letter, the three said they strongly urge the senators to reconsider their opposition to Lynch. The letter said Lynch's "extensive resume as a successful litigator speaks volumes to her qualifications to fill the role of United States Attorney General."

"As United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ms. Lynch has passionately prosecuted cases involving public corruption, terrorism, narcotics, and violent crime," it said. "She has earned a reputation from law enforcement and elected officials on both sides of the aisle as being a fair but tough prosecutor who is more than capable of serving as our next Attorney General."

Burr and Tillis haven’t denied that Lynch is well qualified. Both have said they didn’t like her support for the Justice Department’s support for a lawsuit against North Carolina’s voting law. Tillis also said he didn’t think she was a good manager and that he didn’t like her support for the Obama administration’s immigration policy.

In statements on Friday, Price, Butterfield and Adams emphasized Lynch’s credentials.

“I just don’t understand how Senators Burr and Tillis could not support this North Carolina native,” Adams said. “Her resume is impeccable and she is rightly positioned to be our U.S. attorney general.”