Is race at the root Loretta Lynch’s confirmation delay?

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) pointed to the GOP’s unreasonable delay in confirming Loretta Lynch to the U.S. attorney general post as yet another indication that race still matters. He told Bloomberg News, “For many minorities, Latinos and African-Americans, it would be just another contemporary sign that we have not moved as far as we had hoped.”

The GOP denies that race is a factor for delaying Loretta Lynch's confirmation vote.
The GOP denies that race is a factor for delaying Loretta Lynch’s confirmation vote.

It’s been 137 days since President Barack Obama nominated Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y., to replace Attorney General Eric Holder. Most Republican senators agree that she’s well qualified for the position. Yet GOP leaders continue to block her confirmation vote.

Lynch would become the first Black woman to hold the post. Cleaver is the latest in a string of Democrats to suggest that race is at the root of the delay.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) invoked the image of Rosa Parks during the Civil Rights struggle. He said last Wednesday on the Senate floor that Republicans pushed Lynch to “the back of the bus” on the Senate calendar.

He added: “That is unfair. It’s unjust. It is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate. This woman deserves fairness.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) demanded an apology from Durbin, calling his remarks inappropriate. McCain denied in an a CNN interview that the delay has anything to do with race.

“It has everything to do with trying to get legislation through which would prevent — or help prevent this horrible issue of sexual trafficking that is going on,” he asserted.

Yes. That’s right. Republican leaders are delaying a confirmation vote because Democrats rejected anti-abortion language in a human trafficking bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made that position clear: He plans to keep Lynch’s nomination on hold until the Democrats relent.

Republicans say it’s not about race. But it’s hard to understand their rational for the delay. At first, they opposed Lynch because she expressed support for President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Well, any Obama nominee will support the president’s position–that’s not a good reason to delay a confirmation vote.

Now, they’re delaying her confirmation over a totally unrelated human trafficking measure? That just doesn’t add up.

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Is race at the root Loretta Lynch’s confirmation delay?

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