On Lynch, an example of fair Republicans for Tillis, Burr to follow

The following editorial appeared in the Greensboro News & Record:

North Carolina’s Republican senators maintained their opposition to Loretta Lynch after hearing from representatives of the state’s NAACP Tuesday. Would they listen to Rudy Giuliani, former Republican mayor of New York?

Giuliani wrote to S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham this week supporting Lynch’s nomination as attorney general and asking Graham to “share these personal views with your colleagues as necessary.”

It is necessary. There’s significant opposition among Republicans to Lynch, a Greensboro native who was nominated by President Barack Obama in November to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to schedule a floor vote, delaying it until Senate Democrats lift their objections to an anti-abortion amendment attached to a human-trafficking bill.

Two prominent opponents are Lynch’s home-state senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. After meeting with the NAACP group, they said in a joint statement they “remain concerned with Ms. Lynch’s stated desire to lead the Department of Justice in the same manner as Eric Holder and will not be supporting her nomination.”

Lynch, a U.S. attorney in New York, has not stated such a desire. Neither has she let Republican senators push her into denouncing actions taken by Holder or by the president.

Burr and Tillis previously stated their real objection: Lynch said during her confirmation hearing last month that she would continue the federal lawsuit against North Carolina’s voting law changes. As a black woman who grew up in a state where African-Americans had to fight for voting rights, her position is understandable. Burr and Tillis should respect that and let the courts decide whether North Carolina has gone too far in restricting opportunities to vote.

Giuliani launched his political career as a tough U.S. attorney in New York. With that experience, he told Graham, “I believe I am in a position to recognize quality in the prosecution of her duties.”

“I can further attest that her skill set seems very appropriate to the tough tasks she would face as attorney general.”

Graham, a former military prosecutor, was one of three Republican Judiciary Committee members to vote in favor of Lynch last month. Giuliani echoed Graham’s statement that, under the Constitution, the president should be given deference in his choice of leaders except when nominees are unqualified. That is not the case with Lynch.

“Ms. Lynch has always impressed me as open-minded and willing to make choices on the merits of cases regardless of the political winds,” Giuliani wrote.

The opposition of Sens. Burr and Tillis can’t be characterized in the same way.

There likely will be enough Republican senators to join with Democrats in building a majority for Lynch’s confirmation. McConnell should call a vote.

It’s too bad North Carolina’s senators, for political reasons, will vote against a native daughter who is so highly qualified that she has earned the backing of fair and objective Republicans.

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