Even though President Obama's nomination for the next attorney general has advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a former Justice Department attorney says her confirmation is far from a done deal.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Loretta Lynch's nomination to be the new attorney general, sending it to the full Senate.
The vote was 12 to 8, with three Republicans -- Oren Hatch of Utah, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- joining all committee Democrats in voting in favor of Lynch. But a number of other Republicans took issue with the fact that Lynch's support for the legality of the president's executive actions on immigration disqualified her. Hatch argued that those critics were ignoring Lynch's long record of distinction.
"This was an effort, I guess, to give the president what he wants," says J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department attorney who now serves as legal editor for PJ Media. "Other senators were of the belief, of course, that Loretta Lynch sounds a whole lot like Eric Holder and thought that she should not be approved by the committee until she agrees not to behave like Eric Holder."
Adams says Lynch's confirmation before the entire Senate depends on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
"Mr. McConnell had promised he would block it if she agreed with the president's executive amnesty program, and so it could mean that it never comes up for a vote, because the majority leader controls the floor," Adams notes. "And so if Mitch McConnell wanted to stop Loretta Lynch, Mitch McConnell could stop Loretta Lynch."
That could mean that Eric Holder would still hold his title, as he promised to do, until some other nominee is confirmed.