Editorials

Lynch a strong choice for US attorney general

North Carolina has a special interest in President Obama’s nominee to succeed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Loretta Lynch was born in Greensboro and grew up in Durham, where her father was a minister.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Lynch would be the first black woman to serve as attorney general and would extend the path of Eric Holder, the first black attorney general who announced his resignation in September.

Born in 1959, Lynch is old enough to know about Jim Crow and to understand that federal officials were in large part responsible for breaking those obstacles down. So Lynch, a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law, understands how profoundly important the office of attorney general is.

She also knows about running a large-scale operation, as she will as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. Lynch currently is U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. In that post, she has run into big cases involving drug operations, organized crime and politicians.

As the president said in announcing the nomination, “It’s pretty hard to be more qualified for this job than Loretta.”

Not unexpectedly, some Republicans, emboldened no doubt by their victories in the recent election, already are raising questions about Lynch’s nomination and whether she is qualified.

Indeed, the conservative website Breitbart.com was so eager to get the criticism underway that it claimed Lynch was one of President Bill Clinton’s Whitewater attorneys and a campaign aide. But that was a different Loretta Lynch. The website took the story down and issued a correction.

Lynch is well-qualified. She also has the advantage of not being close to the president and not being entangled in the administration’s previous disputes with congressional Republicans.

If GOP senators intend to make the president’s life miserable by questioning all his nominees for the next two years, Lynch is a bad choice to start with. The confirmation process awaits, but she appears to be a fine choice to become the nation’s next attorney general.

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