If approved by the Committee, her nomination will move to the full Senate for a final vote, and if confirmed there Lynch will become the first African-American woman to serve in that role.
The daughter of a black Baptist minister and a school librarian who once picked cotton in the eastern part of North Carolina, Lynch made her way from Durham to Brooklyn, where she has twice led the U.S. Attorney’s Office there.
Colleagues and adversaries alike have called her a tough, fair, and independent lawyer and a leader of one of the most active and effective U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the nation.
New York Police Commissioner William Bratton called her “a remarkable prosecutor with a clear sense of justice without fear or favor.
Former NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly praised Lynch as a person who “upholds the highest ethical standard” and “would serve our country well” as the attorney general.
And former FBI director Louis Freeh wrote in a letter to Judiciary Committee leadership that he couldn’t think of “a more qualified nominee” and was “happy to give Ms. Lynch my highest personal and professional recommendation.”
Lynch also garnered the respect of several senators serving on the 20-member Committee, before whom she appeared for questioning in late January.
Eleven of those senators are Republican — including newly-minted North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis – and nine are Democrats.
With a supporting vote, Tillis could help make Lynch the first North Carolinian to lead the Justice Department.
But he has not publicly announced his support, and his office did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.
Others on both sides of the aisle have expressed their support, though.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein called Lynch’s performance at her confirmation hearing one of the best she’d witnessed.
“I see the combination of steel and velvet,” Feinstein said.
And Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said he was impressed by Lynch and plans to support her.
Despite that support, an effort is apparently underway among Republicans in the Senate to derail her nomination, according to this report in the News & Observer.
Fifty-one Republican senators have signed a letter urging Judiciary Committee members to oppose her nomination, saying they suspected that Lynch would likely continue the policies of Eric Holder, whom she’d succeed as Attorney General.
Holder made few friends among Republicans in the Senate, and during her confirmation hearing, Lynch found herself being pushed to distance herself from that.
“If confirmed as attorney general, I would be myself,” she said in response to questioning.
“I would be Loretta Lynch.”