Press Releases

Press releases are archived according to their release date. For press releases by topic, please see the Issue Positions page.

Feb 26 2015

RELEASE: Senator Hatch Statement on Judiciary Markup of Lynch Nomination

"I supported advancing Loretta Lynch’s nomination to the floor today because her record of service over several decades shows that she is well qualified to be Attorney General"

Washington D.C.— Senator Orrin G. Hatch, former chairman and longest-serving member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement prior to the Judiciary Committee’s vote to confirm Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch.

“I supported advancing Loretta Lynch’s nomination to the floor today because her record of service over several decades shows that she is well qualified to be Attorney General. There is good reason to believe that Ms. Lynch will be more independent than the current Attorney General and make strides toward recommitting the Department to the rule of law.  For example, she has committed to me that, as Attorney General, she will abide by the injunction issued by a federal district court to halt the President’s recent executive actions on immigration. I am committed to working with Ms. Lynch to help reform the Department of Justice and uphold the rule of law.”

Senator Hatch’s full statement, as prepared for delivery in the Judiciary Committee markup, is below.

I want to offer a few comments on Loretta Lynch, nominee for Attorney General.

Her record includes a legal career that spans 30 years, including more than two decades as a prosecutor and two unanimous confirmations by the Senate. 

I will support advancing her nomination to the floor today because her record shows that she is well qualified to be Attorney General and does not include anything sufficient to overcome the presumption in favor of confirmation. 

The case against her nomination, as far as I can tell, essentially ignores her professional career and focuses solely on about six hours that she spent before this committee on January 28.

I do not believe that is a proper way to evaluate any nominee’s fitness for any position.

I have been around this block many times, having spent 38 years serving on this committee and having chaired it for nearly eight years. 

Senators have different views about how to participate in a confirmation hearing and how to evaluate a nominee’s answers. 

There have, for example, been Senators on both sides of the aisle who ask questions designed to elicit non-answers from a nominee so that they can oppose the nominee for providing non-answers. 

I reject three insinuations about this nomination. 

First, some Democrats insinuate that voting against the Lynch nomination would be applying a “double standard,” suggesting that her race or gender would be the real reasons for opposition. 

I hope that my friends on that side can do better supporting this nomination than such an offensive and patently false innuendo.

Second, it has been suggested by some on the Republican side that voting for the Lynch nomination shows that a Senator does not take his oath of office seriously. 

It could just as readily be argued that ignoring a nominee’s entire professional career gives short shrift to the Senate’s role of advice and consent and, therefore, does not take the oath seriously. 

Neither of those suggestions would be legitimate.

Third, a letter from some House members claims that a vote for the Lynch nomination “should fairly be considered a vote in favor of the President’s lawlessness and against the will of the American people.” 

That is ridiculous on its face. 

No Senator has opposed the President’s series of lawless and overreaching actions more than I have in this committee, in the Finance Committee, on the Senate floor, in the courts, in the media, and any other venue I could find. 

Mr. Chairman, I have concluded that Ms. Lynch’s full record, including but hardly limited to her hearing testimony, shows that she is qualified to serve as Attorney General and does not include anything sufficient to overcome the presumption in favor of confirmation.

If confirmed, Ms. Lynch faces a daunting task. 

I join my Senate colleagues who decry what has happened to the Justice Department. 

It has been politicized and compromised, it has been weakened and even corrupted. 

She will have a significant job ahead to restore the integrity and independence of both the Attorney General’s office and the entire Department of Justice.

There is good reason to believe that Ms. Lynch will be more independent than the current Attorney General and make strides toward recommitting the Department to the rule of law.

For example, she has committed to me that, as Attorney General, she will abide by the injunction issued by a federal district court to halt the President’s recent executive actions on immigration.

I will do everything I can to help her restore both the rule of law in our nation and the integrity of the Justice Department.  

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.