Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a chorus of GOP lawmakers say Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to serve as attorney general, should wait until next year for Senate confirmation.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), a senior Republican member and former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, warned in a Friday op-ed that Democrats should not try to rush Lynch's nomination through in the lame-duck session.
“Properly considering a nominee to such a significant position as attorney general requires a full and fair process, something that is particularly hard to do in a post-election ‘lame-duck’ session,” Hatch wrote in The Washington Times.
“No one has been nominated and confirmed to be attorney general in a lame-duck session since before the Civil War,” he added.
During an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” two days later, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said “it would be in the best interest in the country and the Congress to wait and do this next year.”
Republicans say Lynch should undergo a careful and deliberate confirmation process to give lawmakers an opportunity to scrutinize the recent track record of the Justice Department.
GOP critics argue that outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder often applied the law selectively to help Obama’s political goals. They point to the president’s executive action easing deportations of illegal immigrants who came to the country at a young age and the lack of indictments from the Justice Department against IRS officials accused of targeting conservative groups.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said on Sunday that Lynch would have to answer questions about the legality of executive action on immigration.
"She is going to have to specifically come to the Hill, talk about trying to get better relations between the departments and the Hill, and specifically answer questions about executive amnesty, is it legal, is it constitutional," Barrasso said on "Fox News Sunday."
Barrasso and Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) also said on the Sunday show that it would be a mistake to move on the nomination in the lame-duck session.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Saturday repeated their call for postponing a vote on Lynch until the new Congress begins.
"President Obama’s Attorney General nominee deserves fair and full consideration of the United States Senate, which is precisely why she should not be confirmed in the lame duck session of Congress by senators who just lost their seats and are no longer accountable to the voters," the Republican senators said in a statement.
"Loretta Lynch deserves the opportunity to demonstrate those qualities, beginning with a statement whether or not she believes the President’s executive amnesty plans are constitutional and legal," they added.