This Saturday, President Obama nominated federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch to succeed Eric Holder as the next Attorney General of the United States. Lynch’s career has been distinguished, but also relatively apolitical, making her an appealing nominee given the obstructionists Obama faces in the Senate.
Nonetheless, Senate Republicans have already started to find ways to get in the way of the nomination, headed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz. In a statement released on Saturday, Ted Cruz and Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee stated they expect to know what Lynch thinks of the legality of President Obama’s planned executive action on immigration reform.
As ThinkProgress pointed out, the move “not only puts Lynch in the unwinnable spot of commenting on the executive action of the president who nominated her; it is also the latest attempt to thwart Obama’s planned executive action.”
Because Congressional Republicans have refused to act on the issue of immigration reform, President Obama has promised to use his executive power to do his best to address this country’s broken immigration system. In response, Republicans have blasted Obama’s attempts as “unconstitutional,” all while failing to offer any solutions of their own. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner said that despite controlling both houses of Congress, Republicans were unlikely to take action on immigration reform because the influx of child refugees over the summer had killed GOP support for the issue–and at the same time promised that if Obama took action, he ” is inviting big trouble.”
Cruz is following that same tactic with his attempt to thwart the AG nomination. As Cruz and Lee said in their statement:
- “The Attorney General is the President’s chief law enforcement officer. As such, the nominee must demonstrate full and complete commitment to the law. Loretta Lynch deserves the opportunity to demonstrate those qualities, beginning with a statement whether or not she believes the President’s executive amnesty plans are constitutional and legal.”
If Congress takes up Lynch’s nomination this year, there is fortunately little that Cruz and his Tea Party supporters can do to stop her confirmation. Because the Senate passed filibuster reform, all it takes is a simple majority to confirm her. But if the newly elected Congress is left to confirm Lynch, it will almost certainly be a rough road ahead, both for Lynch and any other judicial nominees that Obama may pick.
Cruz’s actions on the nomination of Loretta Lynch are foreshadowing the strategy he promised to employ with this Congress in advance of his presidential run, which is to obstruct Democrats’ every move, then paint them as the ones who are unwilling to compromise. Cruz and other Senate Republicans have forced President Obama to take executive action by refusing to act on immigration reform, and now are trying to use Obama’s effort to actually get something done to prevent his Attorney General nominee from succeeding.
Ted Cruz isn’t shy about his tactics, but unless Democrats speak up, he will be allowed to get away with lying about his blatant obstructionism. And the ones who will suffer will be the American people, as Congress continues to stagnate and remain inactive on the issues that matter most.