Point/Counterpoint: Day 2 of the Loretta Lynch Hearings

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Analysis Politics

Point/Counterpoint: Day 2 of the Loretta Lynch Hearings

Emily Crockett

Republican leadership is reportedly not going to block the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the first Black female attorney general—but some right-wing lawmakers really, really wish they would.

Republican leadership is reportedly not going to block the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the first Black female attorney general—but some right-wing lawmakers really, really wish they would.

If day one of the attorney general confirmation hearings didn’t make that clear enough, day two trumpeted it from the rooftops.

Lynch herself wasn’t present. Along with a few witnesses who were actually qualified to testify to Lynch’s ability to serve as attorney general, the Senate Judiciary Committee also heard from a group of right-wing media regulars who, according to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), “co-opted” the hearing into “a soundbite factory for Fox News and conspiracy theorists everywhere.”

The results were pretty much what you’d expect.

Roe has collapsed and Texas is in chaos.

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The following is an only-slightly-more-absurd-than-reality idea of the level of “debate” on day two of the confirmation hearings. (Disclaimer: Quotes are accurate, but not even a little bit in context.)

POINT:

“It is my pleasure and honor to appear before you to support the nomination of attorney Loretta Elizabeth Lynch for the position of United States attorney general.”

—Clarence Newsome, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center president and Lynch family friend

COUNTERPOINT:

“I want to spend some time critiquing outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder’s tenure at the U.S. Department of Justice.”

—David Clarke, sheriff, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

 


 

POINT:

“[Lynch] is tough, fair, gracious, smart, and independent.”

—David Barlow, former U.S. attorney, district of Utah

COUNTERPOINT: 

“Attorney General Holder, in my view, has moved his department outside of the navigational beacons of our Constitution.”

—Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor 

 


 

POINT:

“[Lynch] facilitated consensus wherever possible, and made space for dissent when consensus could not be reached.”

—David Barlow

COUNTERPOINT:

“The incendiary rhetoric used by Eric Holder created a pathway for a false narrative that then became the rallying cry for cop haters across America.”

—David Clarke

 


 

POINT:

“Eric Holder is not the nominee. Loretta Lynch, the daughter of Lorine and the Rev. Lorenzo Lynch, and a U.S. Attorney twice unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate—that is who we are being called upon to consider.”

—Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

COUNTERPOINT:

“We aren’t here to talk about [Loretta Lynch’s] qualifications. I don’t think anybody questions that.”

—Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

 


 

POINT:

“[Lynch] enjoyed a reputation for being level-headed, balanced in her thinking, and wise in her judgments.”

—Clarence Newsome

COUNTERPOINT:

“You’ve got two choices. You can take the job and implement the policies or you can say, ‘Mr. President, I think what you’re trying to do is improper, even illegal, unconstitutional, and quit or not take the job in the first place. I don’t see any middle ground on any of that.”

—Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

 


 

POINT:

“[Lynch] asked hard questions, but she did so in an unfailingly dignified and respectful way.”

—David Barlow

COUNTERPOINT:

“What are we going to do to defend our constitutional heritage?”

—Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

 


 

POINT:

“We formed an effective partnership [with Lynch and her office] not only to address national security and criminal threats, but also to engage in outreach and liaison to make a positive impact in the community.”

—Janice Fedarcyk, former assistant FBI director in charge, New York City field office

COUNTERPOINT:

“The government was secretly monitoring me due to my reporting.”

—Sharyl Attkisson, former CBS journalist

 


 

POINT:

“I don’t believe the president or anyone on this earth could get [Loretta Lynch] to make a decision that she did not believe was right.”

—David Barlow

COUNTERPOINT:

“In fact, the most significant voter disenfranchisement threat currently facing our country was made possible by the president’s recent order of executive amnesty.”

—Catherine Engelbrecht, founder, True the Vote

 


 

POINT:

“In all of my interactions with Loretta, her approach to addressing and resolving issues invariably involved gathering information to understand the issue, obtaining input from stakeholders, and making a decision based upon the facts and law.”

—Janice Fedarcyk

COUNTERPOINT:

“There are members of Congress and staff and whistleblowers and other journalists who commonly talk about the idea that they believe, whether it’s true or not, that they believe they’re being monitored on their phones or computers.”

—Sharyl Attkisson

 


 

POINT:

“We have nine witnesses here today. Will those who oppose Loretta Lynch … as attorney general please raise their hand?”

-Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

COUNTERPOINT:

“…”

-All nine witnesses