After a 167-day wait, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch was confirmed Thursday as U.S. attorney general, making her the first African-American woman to hold the post. The Senate confirmed Lynch’s nomination in a 56-43 vote. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., a 2016 presidential candidate, was the only senator not to vote.
The Republican-led Senate held up a confirmation vote on Lynch over an unrelated abortion bill, which passed the body Wednesday.
Lynch is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which includes Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. Under her watch, the office successfully tried a case of police brutality against Abner Louima stemming from a 1997 incident in which the Haitian immigrant was sodomized with a plunger while in police custody.
President Barack Obama nominated Lynch on Nov. 8 to succeed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The confirmation vote delay was criticized by Democrats and civil rights leaders, some of whom went on a hunger strike last week that was to last until a confirmation vote was held. Lynch's wait for a vote was longer than the last seven attorneys general nominees combined, USA Today reported.