Friday, February 27, 2015

Is “history-making” the top qualification for US Attorney General?

Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, both representing North Carolina, will vote against North Carolina native Loretta Lynch when she is on a full Senate ballot for the position of United States Attorney General. Their reasoning is because of policy differences, not politics as some prefer to reason. On the other hand, Representative GK Butterfield, also of North Carolina, while not allowed to participate directly with the confirmation, is purely political and biased in his reasoning why she should be selected. He prefers to use gender and race as her primary qualification.

Thursday, in the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s 12-8 vote in favor of sending the nomination of Lynch to the full senate for confirmation, Tillis, a freshman, voted nay. While voicing respect for Lynch, Senator Tillis gave sound reasoning for his negative ballot, taking a very conservative line in his way of thinking, something several prominent Republicans didn’t. He, and later Senator Burr, voiced his concern for laws of North Carolina that were passed under his watch as Speaker of the House, and that’s to be expected. Tillis obviously feels a strict allegiance to the state he represents. Agree or disagree with that approach, but thank him for his state loyalty.

At some point, Tillis may take a wider view of his job as a United States Senator, looking at the Senate as a national body and not made up of 100 people looking after 50 states. Maybe Tillis should have looked the other way and voted with the majority on the Senate Committee, but he didn’t need to do that, knowing the nomination would pass committee voting and be moved on to the full Senate. In using a disagreement over policy, he didn’t want to disappoint some of his home state constituents, even though Lynch is from North Carolina.

On the other hand, after the committee vote was complete, Representative Butterfield said in a statement: Sen. Tillis had an opportunity today to be on the right side of history in supporting the nomination of Ms. Lynch, who would be the first African-American woman to serve as Attorney General. It is disturbing that Sen. Tillis is beginning his tenure in the Senate by casting such a misguided and politically calculated vote. However, I’m confident that the full Senate will confirm Loretta Lynch, a daughter of North Carolina, as the next Attorney General of the United States.

Interpreting that statement, Butterfield says Lynch’s primary qualification is she would be the first African-American woman to serve as US AG. Butterfield may think Senator Tillis casted a “misguided and politically calculated vote” against Lynch, but at least Tillis seemed to be thinking beyond race and gender when studying qualifications. Lynch may be qualified, and, if confirmed, would be the first African-American woman in the post, indeed a big deal in our changing society. While the President has the right to nominate a person based on the President’s policy approach, Tillis was voicing disagreement with that. He was looking at how she might handle the law, and that’s more important that basing a vote on what Butterfield says is “the right side of history.” Butterfield needs to be more studious of issues before he cast ballots. But that’s not going to happen. In his time in Washington, most of the votes he has cast have been because of one thing: he’s a Democrat, voting the party line without due consideration of a wider view. He’s a rubber stamp for Democratic Party issues, what he calls “politically calculated,” and that’s much sadder than Senator Tillis voting against Lynch in Committee, if you feel Tillis was on the wrong side of the vote.
-------------------- word of the day
ad hockery (noun) [ad-hok-uh-ree]: reliance on temporary solutions rather than on consistent, long-term plans

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