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Loretta Lynch, N.Y. Prosecutor, Nominated for Attorney General

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on November 10, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

When Eric Holder announced last month that he was done, finished, outta here, everyone wondered who the next Attorney General of the United States would be.

And they also wondered how President Obama would be able to push through someone who was as tough as Holder was on issues that -- well, let's say issues that the new Senate majority might not want the new AG to be investigating so much.

Well, wonder no more. President Obama has confirmed the rumors, nominating U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to the post. If confirmed, Lynch would be the second woman, the second African American, and the first African American woman to hold the post.

Who Is Loretta Lynch?

Lynch has certainly got the bona fides: She doubled down on Harvard, where she got both a B.A. and a J.D. She's been in the U.S. Attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York since 1990, with a brief interlude as a partner at Hogan & Hartson and a stint as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Lynch has also been on the prosecuting end of some big-time cases, including the case of Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant who was sexually assaulted by police. (Louima was represented by Sanford Rubenstein, more recently known as the "NYPD chokehold" lawyer who dropped off that case last month amid his own sexual assault allegations.) Lynch also prosecuted a $45 million ATM theft case from 2013, in which a group of hackers infiltrated a foreign credit card processing company, created fake ATM cards, and simultaneously stole millions from ATMs in 20 different countries in a few hours.

Maybe Good, Maybe Bad

Liberals and progressives lamented the loss of Holder, who spent much of his tenure as AG fighting for racial justice -- to the consternation of conservatives, who saw Holder's lawsuits as divisive, not laudable. The Supreme Court handed him a big rebuke in Shelby County, which invalidated the "preclearance" section of the Voting Rights Act, one of the Justice Department's most powerful weapons in ensuring equal access to the ballot in counties with a history of voting discrimination.

Lynch could also be a concern to Republicans. She's been good friends with Holder and just filed tax evasion charges against New York Rep. Michael "I'll throw you off this [gosh darn] balcony" Grimm. Grimm was re-elected last week in spite of his tax evasion indictment and his admonishment to an inquisitive TV reporter, caught on video, that he would "break [him] in half, like a boy."

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