Pictured are U.S. Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch (wearing Black suit), Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio (D-11) (in bluish-green suit), Congressman and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina (D-1) (in red tie), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President and Director-counsel Sherrilyn Ifill (in red suit with long hairdo), National Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. President Dr. Paulette Walker (in red suit with short hairdo), and GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky (R-KY) (in blue tie).
By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Coleman, who is Black, is a 22-year investigative journalist and political and legal reporter who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.
WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Rep Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, National Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. President Dr. Paulette Walker, and Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, told Cleveland Urban News.Com (www.clevelandurbannews.com) during a press conference call that they have had enough of GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's harassment of U.S. attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch. (Editor's Note: Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news, is pleased to have participated in the press conference call).
They want McConnell, of Kentucky, to stop stalling a vote by the U.S. Senate on the nation's would-be first African-American female attorney general and said that the conservative White Republican is anti-Black, anti-female, and against President Barack Obama, America's first Black president.
"This is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to deny the president his choice for attorney general just because he wants to do it," said Fudge, a Warrensville Heights Democrat whose largely Black 11th congressional district includes suburban territories and parts of the cities of Cleveland and Akron, a city some 35 miles south of Cleveland.
The 25th national president of Delta Sigma Theta, of which Fudge is a past national president, Walker said that Lynch, currently the United States Attorney for the eastern district of New York, is highly qualified to lead the Department of Justice and that the procrastination on her confirmation is gender discrimination with racial animus at the helm.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, whom Obama nominated and who was confirmed last month by the Senate without delay, was not the subject of McConnell's ire "because he is White," said Fudge, Butterfield, Ifill and Walker.
Also a Democrat, Obama last year nominated Lynch, 55, to succeed current Attorney General Eric Holder, the country's first Black attorney general. And though according to Butterfield, who this year succeeded Fudge as chair of the CBC, she has the Senate votes to get confirmed, McConnell and Senate Republicans are holding Lynch's nomination hostage.
“The votes are there today to get her confirmed,” said Butterfield.
Republicans control both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, and only gained control of the Senate in elections last November, a scenario that raises questions on why the Democrats postponed a vote last year on Lynch's nomination.
The U.S. attorney general, as the nation's chief law enforcement official, leads the Department of Justice, is nominated by the president, and must subsequently be confirmed by the Senate.
McConnell has said that he will delay a vote on Lynch until the Senate completes consideration of an unrelated bill to fight human trafficking, proposed legislation that Democrats will not support because it contains an anti-abortion provision. He is also angry over Obama's executive actions on immigration reform.
Asked by Cleveland Urban News.Com if the Democrats see any type of compromise coming on McConnell's demands, Fudge, clearly agitated, said absolutely not, and that the issue is not about a compromise but about McConnell's political shenanigans. She called McConnell "petty and mean spirited."
McConnell, the longest serving U.S senator in Kentucky history, will pay a political price for his indiscretions in holding up a qualified Black woman's confirmation without merit, the legal representative for the NAACP said.
“When an African-American woman of this stature who appears fully prepared is delayed, we should recognize that women are watching, that African-American women are watching and Civil Rights leaders are watching,” said Ifill, the seventh president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Lynch's more than four months confirmation delay is second in more than three decades, among 82 attorney generals confirmed, only to Regan nominee Edwin Meese in 1985.
Meese's confirmation took 13 months as he battled questions from Senate Democrats, led by then Sen. Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio, that as a White House official he failed to disclose that he handed out federal jobs to people he had financial relationships with, among other allegations of ethical violations that were ultimately disregarded.