Loretta Lynch has gone from being a safe pick for U.S. attorney general to a nominee whose months-long wait for confirmation could end in her just barely clearing a Senate majority, says the National Law Journal. Lynch’s defense of the Obama administration’s executive action on immigration produced near-unanimous opposition among Republicans after her confirmation hearings. As the vote count stands, the four Republicans who support Lynch’s confirmation combined with 44 Democrats and two Democrat-caucusing Independents give Lynch a 50-50 tie. Under that scenario, Vice President Joe Biden could come to the Senate floor to break the tie.
The reasoning behind the confirmation delay, which may stretch into April, has left Capitol Hill lawyers on both sides of the aisle guessing. “It’s one of two things,” said Ronald Weich, dean of University of Baltimore School of Law and former chief counsel to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA). “It’s either that there’s opposition to her for reasons that I think are illegitimate, or there are many other points of contention between the Republican majority and the administration, and she’s collateral damage … they’re both bad reasons to delay this nomination.”