Kentucky senator and potential 2016 presidential contender Rand Paul is publicly opposing the nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder because of her support for civil forfeiture. The Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday issued a sharp rebuke against the Republican lawmaker and said his objections are unfounded.
“Senator Paul is using the issue of civil forfeitures to block a well-qualified federal prosecutor from heading the Department of Justice. Senator Paul also has the audacity to suggest that Loretta Lynch should have more concern for people living in poverty," said CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield in a statement. “The Congressional Black Caucus recognizes Senator Paul’s unfounded argument as nothing but an excuse to keep an African- American legal scholar from holding this high position, and we directly call on him and Republicans to allow the nomination of Loretta Lynch to proceed to an up or down vote in the Senate.”
The Republican lawmaker told Fox News on Wednesday that he can't vote for her because Lynch said during her confirmation hearing that civil forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agencies to seize property and keep the proceeds even if the owner is never charged with a crime, is a "useful tool." He also cited her support of President Obama's executive actions on immigration and said she's "non-committal" on drone strikes.
"Mrs. Lynch has a track record of violating the individual freedoms granted to us by our Constitution. She considers civil asset forfeiture to be a 'useful tool,' while I consider it to be an infringement on the Fifth Amendment," he said later in a statement. "She remains non-committal on the legality of drone strikes against American citizens, while I believe such strikes unequivocally violate rights granted to us by the Sixth Amendment. Mrs. Lynch also supports President Obama's calls for executive amnesty, which I vehemently oppose."
Paul is the second Republican senator to oppose Lynch. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who sits on the committee that must vote to advance her nomination, tried unsuccessfully this week to encourage Republicans to block her until Obama rescinds his immigration policies.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)