CNN reported Friday that President Obama is expected to nominate Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, to replace Attorney General Eric Holder.
The announcement, which has not been confirmed by the White House, is expected in the coming days.
Lynch, a Harvard graduate, has been the top federal prosecutor in a district serving eight million people since 2010, and held the same job in the Clinton administration.
She would be the first Black woman to serve as attorney general, and only the second woman to ever hold the position.
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Lynch would also be the first U.S. attorney to be directly elevated to attorney general since 1817.
While Lynch is not a particularly high-profile candidate, she is well-respected.
“She’s an incredibly highly qualified prosecutor with a lot of important cases under her belt,” Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society, told Rewire.
Lynch recently indicted Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), infamous for threatening to throw a reporter off of a balcony, on 20 counts of fraud, federal tax evasion, and perjury.
She also prosecuted one of the worst cases of police brutality in New York’s history, the violent assault and sodomy of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. Lynch sent the main officer involved to jail for 30 years.
“I’m hoping she brings that same tenacious dedication to justice to what has happened in Ferguson, and other examples where the police might have behaved in a way that was brutal or destructive to people’s civil rights,” Fredrickson said.
Fredrickson said she hopes Lynch will continue Holder’s work on voting rights, as well as legal representation for the poor—not just for criminal cases, but also civil cases dealing with important issues like custody, divorce, and employment.
“That has been a very unique and special role [Holder] has played,” Fredrickson said.
The Obama administration has been criticized for delaying the attorney general nomination process, since Republicans could try to run out the clock in the lame-duck session or stonewall the nomination after the new year.
But nominating Lynch could give the Obama administration a less difficult nomination battle, especially if her confirmation doesn’t come until after the newly Republican-dominated Senate takes power.
Lynch is not personally tied to Obama or his policies, unlike Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, who faced intense Republican opposition to his labor post nomination last year, or Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who argued in before the Supreme Court in favor of the Affordable Care Act.