How Closely Do Loretta Lynch’s Views Line Up with Holder’s?

COMMENTARY Crime and Justice

How Closely Do Loretta Lynch’s Views Line Up with Holder’s?

Nov 18, 2014 1 min read
Hans A. von Spakovsky

Election Law Reform Initiative Manager, Senior Legal Fellow

Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration.
In nominating Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to replace Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama bypassed a very controversial possible replacement Washington was talking about: Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez. But the president’s hopes for a smoother confirmation may be premature.

Perez has indeed been criticized by federal courts for his misbehavior, as well as by Congress, which issued a report saying Perez had placed “ideology over objectivity and politics over the rule of law” in settling a case in order to get it off the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket. Why? Because he wanted to avoid having the high court rule against the controversial “disparate impact” legal theory being misused by this administration with respect to enforcing the Fair Housing Act.

But since the announcement of Lynch’s nomination, a series of videos and other reports have surfaced indicating that she may share not only the same views as Perez on disparate impact, but the same troubling views as Holder on supposed pervasive racial bias in our culture and justice system.

As I outline here for the Daily Signal, Lynch needs a thorough and intense vetting by senators on a whole host of important issues. This includes her opinion that the death penalty is “racist,” that common-sense voter-ID laws are an attempt to “take back” the achievements of the civil-rights movement, and whether she believes the president has acted within the law in his unilateral actions on immigration and other issues.

They should also determine whether she believes an attorney general can refuse to enforce or defend the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress. In addition, they should ask what advice she gave Holder (as a member of his advisory committee) on everything from the James Rosen investigation to Holder’s refusal to cooperate with the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.

Eric Holder has been at Obama’s side over the past six years as the president has bent, ignored, and changed the law in a way that violates separation-of-powers principles. Members of the Senate have an obligation to make sure that the new attorney general is an ethical professional who not only believes in the rule of law, but is willing to confront her boss when he proposes executive actions that violate federal law or the Constitution. That is something we have been missing since the beginning of this administration.

 - Hans A. von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

Originally appeared in NRO's "The Corner"