“NO” on the Confirmation of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General

This month, the Senate is expected to vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to serve as Attorney General.

Lynch’s testimony raises serious questions about her ability to represent the nation in legal matters, as well as give advice and opinions to the rest of the administration.  Unsurprisingly, Lynch defended the President’s executive amnesty, saying the “legal opinion was reasonable” and it was a “reasonable way to marshal limited resources to deal with the problem.”

The Heritage Foundation’s John Malcolm argues the President’s executive amnesty moves well beyond his limited, constitutional authority:

“Prosecutorial discretion with respect to an executive’s enforcement duties is based on equitable considerations in an individual case or a small set of cases. … What President Obama is doing with regard to immigration law has nothing to do with responding to a natural disaster, civil strife, political persecution, or foreign affairs and everything to do with a disagreement with Congress about domestic immigration policy. He is implementing by executive fiat a policy—based on his policy preferences—that exempts a huge class of people from a law’s applicability, against the will of Congress.”

Under questioning from Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) 100%, Lynch seemed to acknowledge there was a limit to executive authority, but when pressed for a limiting principle she said, “again without knowing more about it, I’m not able to respond to the hypothetical.”

Lynch also refused to answer when asked by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 94% if prosecutorial discretion would “allow a president to say every existing federal labor law shall heretofore not apply to the state of Texas because I am using my prosecutorial discretion to refuse to enforce those laws.”

Her stance on the lack of limitations of executive power and prosecutorial discretion is not the only cause for concern. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) 78% asked Lynch whether a “lawful immigrant” or “someone who came here illegally” has “more right to a job in this country.”  Her answer was alarming:

“Senator, I believe that the right and obligation to work is shared by everyone in this country, regardless of how they came here. When one is here, regardless of status, I would prefer they be participating in the workplace than not be.”

Though Lynch later backtracked, her answer was consistent with the policy put forth by the Obama administration, which would grant quasi-legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to those who are in the country illegally.

The Appointments Clause, commonly referred to as “advise and consent,” gives senators the opportunity to check a president’s power.  Asserting this prerogative is especially important when a nominee supports actions that go beyond the executive’s constitutional authority.

Heritage Action opposes the confirmation of Loretta Lynch and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

Heritage Action’s Legislative Scorecard