WASHINGTON, April 27 (UPI) — U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden Monday after a five-month confirmation delay.
Biden praised her family’s involvement in the civil rights movement, saying the daughter of a Baptist minister who preached during the sit-ins in North Carolina will now be “leading the march to a more perfect union.”
Lynch spoke at the ceremony at the Justice Department, saying she will work to “imbue our criminal justice system with both strength and fairness” to protect the rights of all.
Lynch is the 83rd attorney general of the United States and the first African-American woman to hold the position. She succeeds Eric Holder, who vacated the post Friday. Holder announced his resignation in September, but Lynch’s confirmation faced a lengthy delay after Senate Republicans refused to bring it to a vote until the chamber passed a human trafficking bill.
Passage of the bill was contentious between the two parties due to a measure restricting abortion funding.
The political fight and subsequent delay irritated many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, who called the move “embarrassing” and exemplified when ” dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far.”
The bill passed Wednesday, allowing the Senate to confirm Lynch Thursday.
Upon assuming her new position, Lynch will inherit tough issues facing the judiciary including terrorism, cyber attacks, and racial issues in law enforcement.
Specifically, the Justice Department will focus on preventing the Islamic State from recruiting Americans and stopping them from traveling to Iraq and Syria.
Domestically, Lynch will face the growing unrest over racial tensions between police and African-Americans. Following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of law enforcement, police killing black men has come to the national forefront.