- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 8, 2014

President Obama on Saturday praised U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, whom he officially nominated to be the nation’s next Attorney General during a ceremony at the White House.

“It’s pretty hard to be more qualified for this job than Loretta,” Mr. Obama said. “She’s established herself as tough, fair … she has spent years in the trenches as a prosecutor.”

News agencies reported Friday that Ms. Lynch — a Harvard Law graduate and current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York - would be the president’s nominee, a choice that the White House denied until late Friday night before finally confirming the rumor.

Ms. Lynch has a “fierce commitment to equal justice under law,” Mr. Obama said, and praised her dedicated attitude.

“Loretta doesn’t look to make headlines, she looks to make a difference,” he said. “She’s not about splash, she’s about substance.”

Ms. Lynch said that she would “wake up every morning with the protection of the American people as my first thought,” if confirmed.

“The Department of Justice is the only cabinet department named for an ideal,” she said. “Our work is both aspirational and ground in the gritty real.”

Ms. Lynch said people at the Justice Department “work all day and well into the night to make that ideal a reality.”

She also thanked her colleagues at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and her family.

“No one gets to this place, this room, this podium, this moment by themselves,” Ms. Lynch said.

Though present at the ceremony, current Attorney General Eric Holder did not speak but released a statement afterwards.

“Loretta has earned the trust and respect of Justice Department employees at every level, in Washington and throughout the country,” Mr. Holder said. “She is held in high regard by criminal justice, law enforcement and civil rights leaders of all stripes.”

Mr. Holder said he believes Ms. Lynch will lead the DOJ with “integrity, honor and distinction,” and praised her “unwavering fidelity to the law and her steadfast dedication to protecting the American people.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said he looks forward to learning more about Ms. Lynch and how she proposes to lead the department.

“I have every confidence that Ms. Lynch will receive a very fair, but thorough, vetting by the Judiciary Committee,” he said.

As the top Republican on that committee, Mr. Grassley will lead much of the Republican’s line of questioning. And following the GOP takeover of the Senate on Tuesday, Mr. Grassley is widely expected to be the next chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

“I’m hopeful that her tenure, if confirmed, will restore confidence in the Attorney General as a politically independent voice for the American people,” Mr. Grassley said.

Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that the role of attorney general requires “the highest levels of integrity, a commitment to enforcing our nation’s laws and a dedication to protecting the American people from emerging national security threats.”

“The current Attorney General, Eric Holder, has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of commitment to enforcing the laws, but more fundamentally, a lack of respect for the constitutional separation of powers,” Mr. Goodlatte said.

“Should my colleagues in the Senate decide to confirm Ms. Lynch as the next Attorney General, I look forward to working collaboratively with her to fully enforce our laws and safeguard our national security,” he said.

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