While generally appearing smooth and composed, the substance of some Ms. Lynch's answers were very troubling.
For example, on immigration, she appear to say all illegal aliens have a right to work. Later the always crafty politician Schumer tried to help her walk back that answer.
"I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that's shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here. And certainly, if someone is here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they would be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace," she said early in the hearing, under questioning by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
However, later in the day, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) gave her the opportunity to clarify her statement and she said she didn't mean to suggest that it's legal for everyone in the U.S. to be employed.
More troubling on immigration was an answer she did not try to walk back:
At another point during the early exchange with Sessions, Lynch also seemed to suggest that employers needed to verify U.S. citizenship during the hiring process, even though that practice is generally prohibited.
"We have in place at this point in time a legal framework that requests — requires employers to both provide information about citizenship, as well as not hire individuals without citizenship,” Lynch said.
The Attorney General is the chief Federal law enforcement official and needs to uphold the law regardless of his/her policy preferences. Her answers on these and related issues have caused Senator Sessions to announce his opposition to her confirmation:
“President Obama’s executive amnesty represents one of the most breathtaking exertions of executive power in the history of this country. After Congress rejected the President’s favored immigration legislation, the White House met with the interest groups who had crafted that bill and implemented the major provisions of the legislation that Congress had rejected through executive fiat.
The legal opinion attempting to justify this circumvention of Congress was issued by the Attorney General’s Office of Legal Counsel. At the outset of this nomination process, I said that no Senator should vote to confirm anyone for this position—the top law enforcement job in America—who supported the President’s unlawful actions. Congress must defend its constitutional role, which is clearly threatened.
Unfortunately, when asked today whether she found the President’s actions to be ‘legal and constitutional,’ Ms. Lynch said that she did. I therefore am unable to support her nomination.
Ms. Lynch gave troubling answers on other topics as well. We will detail these in future blog posts as we continue to watch the hearings and hope that Ms. Lynch will give us confidence that she will be a US Attorney General representing all Americans.