The United States Senate voted 56-43 to confirm Loretta Lynch as the next Attorney General of the United States on Thursday afternoon.Both U.S. Senators from New Mexico were among the majority who voted to confirm Lynch to the position. Both are Democrats.
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall highlighted Lynch’s status as the first African-American woman to serve in the position.
“With a wealth of experience and her lifetime commitment to justice, Loretta Lynch is extremely well-qualified to be attorney general, and I was honored to vote to confirm her,” Udall said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “New Mexicans understand that diversity makes us stronger, and I’m proud she’s making history as the first African-American woman to serve as our nation’s top law enforcement officer.
“Loretta Lynch’s impressive legal career and commitment to justice will make her an outstanding Attorney General,” U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich said in his statement. “She is intelligent, fair, and an admired public servant.”
Lynch’s wait to be confirmed was noticeably long. The New York Times called it “one of the nation’s most protracted cabinet-level confirmation delays.”
FiveThirtyEight found that the wait was the longest for a Cabinet member since 1977, the last date that there is data from. John Holbrook waited 176 days for a confirmation vote as United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 1999.
Udall used the long wait from nomination to confirmation as an example of why filibuster reform is needed in the chamber; since joining the senate in 2009, Udall has been one of the most vocal proponents of reforming the filibuster.
“I’ve championed filibuster reform to ensure that senators can work together to confirm nominees and enable them to do their important work for the American people, but the majority still insisted on partisan delay,” Udall said.
Heinrich also highlighted the long wait.
“It’s embarrassing that her confirmation process took this long, and it is my hope that Republican leadership immediately ends this dysfunctional practice when confirming important executive and judicial nominees,” Heinrich said.
Lynch replaces Eric Holder, who was confirmed in February of 2009.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was the only Senator not to vote on the confirmation. Cruz is running for the Republican nomination for President and said that he opposed Lynch’s nomination.