The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general, with the help of 10 Republicans who ignored complaints that Lynch would use her new position to support what many say is President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional immigration plan.
The Senate voted 56–43 in favor of Lynch, approving her with help of the following REPUBLICAN Senators:
- Kelly Ayotte (N.H.),
- Thad Cochran (Miss.),
- Susan Collins (Maine),
- Jeff Flake (Ariz.),
- Lindsey Graham (S.C.),
- Orrin Hatch (Utah),
- Ron Johnson (Wis.),
- Mark Kirk (Ill.),
- Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
While Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was in the Senate earlier in the day, he was the only member of the chamber not to vote. Cruz had opposed Lynch.
A spokeswoman for Cruz downplayed the missed vote by saying “if the Senate could get 60 votes for cloture, they could get 51 for final confirmation.” Cloture was the vote to end debate earlier in the day, when the Senate voted to end debate on the Lynch nomination by a 66-34 vote.
“Cloture is the only vote that mattered,” Cruz spokeswoman Amanda Carpenter tweeted.
Much of the GOP’s opposition to Lynch was due to her support for Obama’s executive action on immigration. During her confirmation hearing, Lynch said she believes Obama’s plan was consistent with the Constitution, drawing outrage from Republicans who have said it’s an end-run around Congress.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the most vocal Republican against Obama’s plan, said the Senate shouldn’t confirm Lynch to be the nation’s top law enforcement officer given her support for what he has called an illegal move by Obama.
“The Senate must never confirm an individual to such an office as this who will support and advance a scheme that violates our Constitution and eviscerates established law and congressional authority,” he said Thursday. “No person who would do that should be confirmed. And we don’t need to be apologetic about it, colleagues.”
However, it became clear a few weeks ago that Lynch had just enough GOP support to pass the Senate by a simple majority.
The vote followed several months of delay in the Senate, prompting Democrats to argue that Lynch was the most-delayed attorney general nominee ever. Republicans argued that it was Democrats who agreed to start the confirmation process this year, instead of late 2014.