U.S. President Barack Obama officially named Loretta Lynch, a federal prosecutor based in New York, as his nominee for attorney general Saturday. “Loretta doesn’t look to make headlines. She looks to make a difference,” Obama said in announcing her nomination, describing the long-time prosecutor as a “charming people person.”
Lynch and outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder joined Obama for the announcement made in the Roosevelt Room in the White House.
Assuming Lynch is confirmed by the Senate, she would become the first African-American female to serve as the top U.S. law-enforcement official. During her 30-year career, Lynch previously has been confirmed twice by the Senate to head the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). She has led the prosecution teams in a number of high-profile cases involving civil rights, gang violence, narcotics and terrorism. “It has been a joy, it has been an honor, and I will carry you with me wherever I go,” Lynch said of her “professional home” in the Brooklyn-based office.
This week, the news Obama had chosen a nominee followed rampant media speculation about who would take over when Holder steps down, a decision announced in September.
“Ms. Lynch is a strong, independent prosecutor who has twice led one of the most important U.S. attorney’s offices in the country,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said in a statement Friday. “She will succeed Eric Holder, whose tenure has been marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement.”
Lynch is currently in charge of all federal prosecutions in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, as well as on Long Island, with attorneys largely working on terrorism, public corruption and organized crime cases, as the New York Times reported. She also doesn’t share a history with Obama, a key factor at a time when the president is facing mounting opposition in Washington in the form of a Republican-controlled Congress.
“President Obama has chosen a great New Yorker as the country’s highest-ranking law enforcement official,” New York Mayor Bill De Blasio said in a statement Friday. “The nation is about to meet Loretta Lynch for the first time -- but in the five boroughs, she is already known for her character, toughness and uncompromising sense of justice. She has never been afraid to hold those in power accountable under the law, or to fight for those facing inequity. I urge the Senate to recognize Loretta as the accomplished and respected leader she is, and confirm her as attorney general.”