Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will oppose the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee to replace Eric Holder as attorney general, the Republican said Wednesday, citing her support for Obama's executive action on immigration and civil liberties issues as reasons for his stance.
In a statement issued to Politico, Paul wrote: “Mrs. Lynch has a track-record of violating the individual freedoms granted to us by our Constitution. She considers civil asset forfeiture to be a ‘useful tool,’ while I consider it to be an infringement on the Fifth Amendment.
“Mrs. Lynch also supports President Obama’s calls for executive amnesty, which I vehemently oppose. The attorney general must operate independent of politics, independent of the president and under the direction of the Constitution. I cannot support a nominee, like Mrs. Lynch, who rides roughshod on our Constitutional rights.”
Though Paul does not sit on the highly influential Senate Judiciary Committee, some Republican senators who do have already indicated that they will not support Lynch.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told supporters on a call Wednesday that he would vote against Lynch's confirmation, saying that while Lynch had an “impressive record,” he felt "she will become the chief advocate for the president's policies as attorney general, and her testimony expressing support for the president's unconstitutional executive action ... make it impossible for me to vote for her nomination," CBS News reported.
In addition to Cornyn, Republican committee members Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana have also voiced their intentions to vote against Lynch.
Lynch, who serves as the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, New York, would be the first black woman to hold the post of attorney general if her nomination is confirmed. But despite the opposition of many republicans, Lynch is expected to be confirmed to the post.
Republicans who support Lynch do so for a variety of reasons. Sen. Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, couched his support for Lynch in terms of his dislike of the incumbent: “Republicans have been complaining about Eric Holder for a long time; this is an opportunity to make that change,” he said, according to a separate Politico report.
Republican Judiciary Committee member Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona added: “The president ought to get his people as long as there’s no disqualifying substance there, and I don’t think there is with her.”
Democrats see some Republicans, such as Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Flake as possible confirmation votes, the New York Times reported.
Some Republicans, angered by Obama's immigration policy, have tried to use their influence over other government business as leverage to force some kind of change. This has included a now seemingly failed plan from by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to block Lynch's appointment, and a refusal by Republicans to fund the Department of Homeland Security, which controls most of the agencies involved in the immigration reform, through the rest of this year, according to the Washington Post.