Loretta Lynch waited a long time, but on Thursday, she was finally approved for her next job.
Following a five month delay, the Senate confirmed Lynch as the next Attorney General of the United States, making her the first black woman to hold that job.
Lynch will replace Eric Holder, who has served as attorney general throughout Barack Obama’s presidency.
Lynch, who is currently the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was generally considered to be a well-qualified candidate and a successful prosecutor, garnering high praise from the law enforcement community.
However, many Republican senators took issue with her refusal to denounce executive actions taken by President Obama on immigration reform.
That dispute, along with other issues in the Senate that had nothing to do with her confirmation, led to the long delay for Lynch’s confirmation, one of the longest in the history of the post.
A week ago, President Obama called the delay “embarrassing,” saying that it was nothing more than “political gamesmanship.”
Ultimately, however, Lynch’s qualifications seem to have won out over the concerns of many Republicans. The 46 Democratic senators were joined by 10 Republicans who broke with the majority of their party to vote in favor of Lynch’s confirmation.
This allowed her to pass the vote by a fairly comfortable 56-43 margin. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the only senator not to cast a vote, though he did vote no on a procedural vote to end debate and allow the confirmation vote earlier in the day (that vote passed with more Republican support).
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was among the ten Republicans who voted for Lynch. Other Republicans who supported Lynch’s confirmation included Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah.
Lynch’s nomination shouldn’t mark any major changes in policy for the Obama administration, though it will put a new face on the Department of Justice. But will it have any impact on the issue of online gambling, or the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA)?
The issue of Internet gambling did come up during Lynch’s confirmation hearing. Senator Lindsey Graham, who sponsored RAWA in the Senate last year, asked Lynch if she was familiar with the Department of Justice’s recent opinion that the Wire Act applied only to sports betting, and not to other forms of online gambling.
Lynch responded that she was familiar with the decision, but hadn’t studied the issue enough to have her own opinion on it.
In written responses to questions that were submitted after her hearing, Lynch said that she would look into the issue, but said it was unlikely to change anything.
“If confirmed as Attorney General, I will review the Office of Legal Counsel opinion, which considered whether interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a sporting event or contest fall within the score of the Wire Act,” she wrote. “It is my understanding, however, the OLC opinions are rarely reconsidered.”
While that answer left open the possibility of taking another look at the issue, it was essentially a polite way of saying that Lynch would almost certainly not be overturning that opinion.
That was consistent with other responses that suggested Lynch wasn’t going to make rolling back that opinion or pushing for an online gambling ban a priority as attorney general.