On Saturday, President Barack Obama officially named New York prosecutor Loretta Lynch as his pick to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder and called for her confirmation "without delay,"
a request which drew an immediate response from Republicans.
While not directly confronting the administration over pushing through her nomination in a lame-duck session of Congress, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said to do so would be a virtually unprecedented move.
"The attorney general of the United States is a very consequential position. We have not done an attorney general confirmation in a lame-duck since 1906. That was in the same party.
"The last time we done one with a change of party was whether James Buchanan was leaving the White House and Abraham Lincoln was coming in," Barrasso said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday
He added: "So, as I say, what the president does in two months is very consequential for the next two years."
Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch
issued a statement in which he said "a full and fair confirmation process is always essential," particularly in light of "the troubling abuses under the current Attorney General."
Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas
, however, expressly stated the Senate should not confirm her during a lame duck session.
"President Obama’s Attorney General nominee deserves fair and full consideration of the United States Senate, which is precisely why she should not be confirmed in the lame duck session of Congress by senators who just lost their seats and are no longer accountable to the voters," they wrote in a joint statement issued on Nov. 8.
They added that a full consideration of Lynch's nomination should begin "with a statement whether or not she believes the President’s executive amnesty plans are constitutional and legal."
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy
said he had spoken with Obama "about the need to confirm our next attorney general in a reasonable time period, and I look forward to beginning that process," according to a statement issued by the chairman after Lynch's nomination was announced.
However, it will be outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, not Obama, who will make the decision on whether to rush Lynch's nomination through or wait for full hearings to conclude.
"I've not spoken to Senator [Harry] Reid about his intentions, but I would like to see us move forward," Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
"I think this is an important post and I think we should have somebody on the ground sooner, rather than later."
Others, such as independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons, favor a more aggressive push to get Lynch confirmed.
"We still have the majority. I think we should be as aggressive as we can," said Sanders, while Coons said approving a slate of Obama administration nominations is "an issue that I'm willing to fight over," according to Politico
According to The Associated Press
, there are 16 district court nominees awaiting full Senate action, as well as 17 additional nominations yet to be passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The decision Reid faces is whether to use the five-week lame-duck session to be "aggressive" in moving on a range of nominations awaiting action and risk angering Republicans, or trying to clear the backlog of non-controversial elections.
"There’s not going to be much interest in allowing the Dems to run over us in the lame duck to push through bad nominees," Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told Politico.
Lynch successfully passed through the Senate nomination twice, when she was tapped to be the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, reports The Wall Street Journal
. But she could face more scrutiny and tougher questions as a consequence of the poor relations Holder has had with congressional Republicans, the Journal said.
Reid must also consider what priority to place on nominations given that the Senate must also act on appropriations bills, including additional funding for the fight against ISIS and combating the spread of Ebola.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.