To Advance Civil Rights and Economic Justice, Confirm Loretta Lynch

The U.S. Senate has delayed the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, who has been nominated to served as U.S. Attorney General. The length of the wait for a confirmation vote is at historic levels, despite the fact that Ms. Lynch is extremely well-qualified. It's critical for the Senate to act to confirm her.

You might ask: Why is this important for our communities?

The organization I lead, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), strives to build a just economy by working to ensure that all communities have fair access to credit, capital, banking services and housing. A key component of a just economy is the rule of law. History shows this clearly; consumers need to be protected from unsavory and unfair practices, and corporations need clear checks on their activities and power to prevent abuses.

By the same token, the rule of law is often only as good as its enforcers. Having strong leaders as regulators, and as Attorney General, is imperative for our collective well-being as a nation. It's eminently clear that Loretta Lynch, whom President Obama has nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney General, is such a leader.

As a U.S. Attorney, she has a sterling record. She has successfully prosecuted some of the highest-profile criminal and civil rights cases in New York. She also has served as Chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee and in that role has grappled with important issues facing the Department of Justice across the country. She knows the Department of Justice, she has the experience, and she has demonstrated the leadership needed to be an excellent Attorney General.

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) recently concluded its annual conference, titled "Creating a Just Economy." Hundreds of people from communities across the country came together to share experiences and knowledge and strengthen the movement for economic fairness. At NCRC's conference, Reverend Doctor William Barber II, President of the North Carolina NAACP, delivered a keynote address that compellingly and movingly made the case for Ms. Lynch's confirmation. As Reverend Barber said of Ms. Lynch, "[for] all of the federal laws and protections that so many of you have fought for, her confirmation is key." In his remarks, Rev. Barber addressed the importance of protecting voting rights, and the need to restore the Voting Rights Act to full strength. "You must join the fight for a real fix to the Voting Rights Act if you are truly concerned about reinvestment in this country and the policies that are passed," he said. Voting rights are another critical component of a just economy. We need a healthy democracy that allows fair participation in order to in turn ensure that our economic system is fair. Here too Ms. Lynch is the leader we need as Attorney General.

And yet, Ms. Lynch's nomination to serve as Attorney General has stalled, despite her clear qualifications and stellar track record. There is no discernible rationale for the delay in her confirmation.

Simply put, members of the U.S. Senate who are opposing the confirmation of Ms. Lynch are opposing the cause of economic fairness, civil rights, and the rule of law. Communities that are still recovering from the Great Recession, and particularly working-class communities and communities of color, need someone who will carry on the work of enforcing the laws that ensure the fairness of our economic and political system. The Senate should act to confirm Ms. Lynch promptly and without further delay.