In Senate Floor Speech, Blumenthal Calls On Republicans To Stop Making Excuses, Drop Partisan Politics, And Confirm Loretta Lynch As Attorney General

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) spoke on the Senate floor urging his Senate colleagues to confirm Loretta Lynch as the next U.S. Attorney General and to put a stop to the unnecessary, partisan politics that are preventing our nation’s top law enforcement official from taking office, saying:

“If my colleagues really want to end sex exploitation and human trafficking, they should confirm the chief law enforcement official who is responsible for fighting it. They should confirm the nominee who has . . . shown her determination to fight [human trafficking] and to use all of the laws and potentially this new law in the war against human trafficking,” said Blumenthal. “The United States Senate is perfectly capable of filling this crucial position, the top law enforcement job in the nation, even as it debates anti-trafficking legislation.”

Watch Blumenthal’s full remarks as delivered here: http://youtu.be/7jXiu27uNdA

Text of full remarks as delivered:

The nomination of the chief law enforcement officer in our nation, the Attorney General, that position truly ought to be above politics. And, in fact, as we know from the structure of our government is generally regarded to be above politics.

The President of the United States has his or her legal counsel to provide advice to the president, but the Attorney General of the United States enforces law for this nation. Not for one party, not for one official, not on one issue but on all issues for all people in the United States.

When my colleagues have said on the floor that the President deserves his nominee, really it's the nation that deserves a nominee to be confirmed. And this nominee has been delayed longer than any in recent history, as my colleagues have observed, 129 days have passed since Loretta Lynch's nomination, from announcement to confirmation. Her nomination has been delayed longer than any in recent history. In fact, nearly longer than any in modern history, putting aside the nomination of [Edwin] Meese which was delayed by an ongoing investigation into alleged improprieties. 

There's no investigation here. There's no question of impropriety. There has been no hint of any reason to reject the Loretta Lynch nomination. In fact, the American people could be forgiven for thinking that some of the members of this body are simply looking for an excuse to delay or deny her nomination. 

First it was in our hearing questions about her capacity and qualifications. Those reasons or potential excuses for delaying or denying her nomination were quickly extinguished. 

Then it was the immigration issue. And that one, too, as an excuse for delaying or denying this nomination, has been dispensed.

And now it is the anti-trafficking bill. No reason for delay could be more inappropriate, because the fact of the matter is, the threat to delay again her nomination is antithetical to the very goal of stopping human trafficking. 

If my colleagues really want to end sex exploitation and human trafficking, they should confirm the chief law enforcement official who is responsible for fighting it. They should confirm the nominee who has indicated an anathema to this kind of abuse, who has shown her determination to fight it and to use all of the laws and potentially this new law in the war against human trafficking. 

The United States Senate is perfectly capable of filling this crucial position, the top law enforcement job in the nation, even as it debates anti-trafficking legislation. 

In fact, it showed itself capable of doing so just last week when two nominees to Department of Transportation positions -- important transportation positions -- as I can say personally because they involve the safety and reliability of our system, even as it continued to debate the anti-trafficking legislation. 

Holding the Lynch nomination hostage -- that's what's happening here -- is a disservice to the Department of Justice but even more so to our system of justice. It undermines integrity and trust in the nonpolitical nature of justice in this nation. And it does so at a time when vigorous and effective leadership is more important and necessary than ever.

The nation could be forgiven for assuming, as increasingly appears to be so, that the Lynch nomination is being held hostage for simply a cynical excuse and to prevent her from getting to work on protecting the American public from human trafficking, which is so important. 

The American people want action on trafficking and there are legitimate points of debate between our sides on this issue. Those points of debate and differences need to be resolved, and I hope they will be, I trust they will be. I believe they are resolvable and that extraneous or irrelevant provisions now in the bill can be removed so that we can focus on stopping modern-day slavery, which is what we should be doing here, and I believe that we will do it. 

Loretta Lynch has a stellar record. She served with incredible distinction during her time as United States Attorney for the eastern district of New York. I suggest to my colleagues that the best way to serve the purpose of stopping trafficking is to confirm her so she can get to work on enforcing [the] law. Thank you, Madam President.