By Srijan Sen
After five months of deliberation since the nomination by President Obama and the swearing in ceremony, Loretta Lynch was officially appointed as the 83rd Attorney General (AG) of the United States on April 27, 2015.
Lynch, 55, becomes the second woman and the first African-American woman to be appointed as the Attorney General of the nation.
Having recently served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, her tenure began in 2010 and she previously held the position from 1999 to 2001. As U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Lynch was responsible for overseeing legal affairs in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.
Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of office as Lynch, her father and husband held the bible while Lynch took the oath.
Growing up in North Carolina during the civil rights era and making her way to Harvard University, Lynch is the daughter of a retired teacher and a fourth-generation Baptist preacher who would take his daughter to the courthouse and observe important proceedings.
Taking over after the resignation of previous AG Eric Holder, Lynch will have to address the issues of terrorism, preventing cyber attacks, policing and race related tensions, while continuing Holder’s six-year tenure, during which he made civil liberties a cornerstone of the Justice Department.
The senate confirmed Lynch’s nomination last Thursday with 56 to 43 vote although this process was held up for an unusual period of time.
Caught up in a partisan limbo over a human-trafficking bill, Lynch maintained a low profile during the 166 days of the process making her nomination one of the longest in recent history.
“It shows that Loretta is more interested in doing justice than getting the limelight,” said Thompson, now the Brooklyn district attorney.
Although Lynch is not expected have a radically different agenda from Holder, she has expressed hope to better relations with Congress and Republican lawmakers.
Holder often clashed with conservatives on Capitol Hill and was held in contempt during a document dispute stemming from the Fast and Furious federal investigation into gun trafficking.
Through very subtle ways, Lynch has separated herself from her predecessor. A proponent of the death penalty, she believes it is an effective punishment and has voiced absolute opposition to the prospect of marijuana legalization. Holder personally opposed the death penalty.
With national concern brewing over the tension in Baltimore, Lynch released a statement on Monday condemning violence in the city as counter productive and a disservice to Freddie Gray’s family, and peaceful protestors.
During her time as a Brooklyn prosecutor, she attracted attention for leading one of the most sensational police brutality cases in city history – the 1997 broomstick torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in a precinct bathroom.
During her second tenure, Lynch’s office successfully squashed an Al-Qaida-sanctioned plot to attack New York City subways, and against a Canadian drug kingpin who was one of New York’s biggest marijuana suppliers. More recently, a successful tax evasion case was brought against former Republican Congressman Michael Grimm that resulted in a guilty plea and his resignation.
“I am here to tell you, if a little girl from North Carolina who used to tell her grandfather in the fields to lift her up on the back of his mule, so she could see ‘way up high, Granddaddy,’ can become the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America, then we can do anything,” Lynch said.