After a five-month-long, stalled nomination, Congress confirms President Obama’s nomination for U.S. Attorney General, making Loretta Lynch the first female African American to head the Justice Department.
Growing up in Greensboro, N.C. — where her parents could not legally vote and her grandparents were sharecroppers — Lynch was interested in law and order from a young age, attending court proceedings and civil rights rallies with her father.
Despite coming from a disenfranchised background, Lynch graduated high school as valedictorian of her class, earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from Harvard College, and in 1984, earned a law degree from Harvard Law School.
Lynch most recently served as U.S. Attorney General for the Eastern District of New York, an area with a population of about 8 million people. In this position, she prosecuted terrorists and tax-evading politicians.
The 55-year-old’s nomination stalled because some in the House and Senate opposed her support for President Obama’s executive order on immigration. Her confirmation had also been postponed while Congress settled a dispute over language in a human-trafficking bill, which was resolved earlier this week.
Lynch succeeds Eric Holder, who was the first African American to serve as Attorney General.