Actually, Hatch isn’t leaning. He’s onboard. Just as he was in confirming Eric Holder, a few years before he ran for reelection in Utah as the Senate’s oldest, strongest conservative.
Following this morning’s hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the confirmation of Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, Senator Hatch said:
The Justice Department is in dire need of new leadership. For too long its decisions have been politicized and its leaders have facilitated executive abuses by this President rather than upholding the rule of law. Throughout her confirmation hearing, Ms. Lynch has demonstrated her qualifications and made specific commitments to work with Congress. I plan to support her nomination and will seek to help ensure that she upholds her commitments to enforce the law.
Graham is leaning — he’s “inclined” to support her, per Politico — but c’mon. What are the odds that a guy known as “Grahamnesty,” who led the charge on the Gang of Eight bill, who also voted to confirm Eric Holder, and who won’t have to worry about another primary for five years is going to give thumbs down to Lynch just because she thinks Obama’s executive order on immigration is perfectly legal?
There are 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee and nine Democrats, so two GOP defections will be enough to send Lynch’s nomination to the full Senate for a vote. And it looks like there’ll be more than just two. Chuck Grassley, the committee chairman, made some noise yesterday about Lynch fixing the problems that Holder’s created, so he sounds open to voting yes. So does Jeff Flake:
“I met with her. I had a question about something called Operation Streamline specifically in the Yuma sector of the border,” Sen. Jeff Flake told BuzzFeed News Wednesday. “The answer was so-so on it but … my philosophy has always been the president should always get his people unless there is something disqualifying about them and there’s nothing disqualifying about her.”
She’s going to sail through committee, in other words, setting up a showdown on the Senate floor where … she’ll be easily confirmed (there’s no filibuster for non-SCOTUS presidential appointees anymore, remember), albeit with all your favorite 2016 Republican contenders like Cruz and Paul and Rubio voting no to make sure that none of them can out-conservative the other on this in the primaries. They’re all afraid of potentially being hit with this attack from Conn Carroll: Given her support for O’s executive order (and her statement yesterday that illegals have a “right” to work), a vote for Lynch is effectively a vote for amnesty.
Now that Lynch is on record endorsing Obama’s view of executive power, any Republican that votes to confirm Lynch as Attorney General is also explicitly endorsing that view…
Republican Senators either believe that Obama’s amnesty is an unprecedented violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers, one that is worth using their own Constitutional powers to fight, or they will rubber stamp Lynch and sweep the issue under the rug.
Republican Senators should think long and hard before they cast their vote on Lynch, and not just because Republican primary voters will remember this vote.
If the Senate wants to continue to be relevant at all, they must push back against Obama’s unprecedented expansion of executive power.
The GOP leadership is countering that by arguing that a vote against Lynch is actually a vote for Holder since he’s promised to stay on duty until his replacement is confirmed. Either way, the amnesty policy will continue, in which case how should Republicans proceed? Shrug and vote yes on the the theory that even if Lynch is no better than Holder, she can hardly be worse? Or vote no on the theory that if we’re going to be stuck with leftist apparatchiks at DOJ blindly defending Obama’s unconstitutional power grabs, we might as well stick with the hack who’s already on the job? I can see the virtues of both approaches, although only the latter promises a week of “REPUBLICANS REJECT FIRST BLACK WOMAN ATTORNEY GENERAL” headlines.