After months of delay by the Senate, Loretta E. Lynch was sworn in Monday morning as the 83rd attorney general, the first African American woman to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official.
With her husband at her side, along with her 83-year-old father, Lynch repeated the oath of office to Vice President Biden during a ceremony at the Justice Department. Among those in attendance were FBI Director James Comey and Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama.
“It’s about time,” Biden said as the packed attorney general’s conference room erupted in applause. “It’s about time this woman is being sworn in. . . . This is a woman who is incredibly qualified.”
In her remarks, Lynch thanked Biden for his support and counsel during the confirmation process. “And it’s been quite a process,” she said to laughter.
Although Lynch was confirmed last week by a 56-43 vote, her nomination took nearly six months to reach the Senate floor, with lawmakers repeatedly delaying the process. The nomination also became tangled in politics over legislation — specifically a human-trafficking bill — and when it would come to the floor.
Lynch faces a host of challenges as she replaces former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr.
The department is under increasing pressure to weigh in on excessive use of force by local police officers and is overseeing several closely watched civil rights investigations. Although Lynch has voiced strong opposition to the legalization of marijuana, the department will also have to contend with a changing landscape across the country, as several states take more relaxed positions.
The Justice Department, meanwhile, is devoting increasing resources to tackling cybercrime and preventing cyberattacks.
On Monday, Lynch, 55, who twice served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, thanked her mother, a school librarian, and her father, a fourth-generation Baptist minister who she said had traveled to Washington to be “at every hearing, every vote.” Her father, the Rev. Lorenzo Lynch, stood near her and held a Bible on which she swore the oath of office.
“I’m here to tell you, if a little girl from North Carolina — who used to tell her grandfather in the fields to lift her up on the back of his mule so she could ‘see way up high granddaddy’ — can grow up to become the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America, we can do anything,” Lynch said.
via washington post