Loretta Lynch supporters stage hunger strike to urge confirmation
By SEUNG MIN KIM
4/15/15 8:34 AM EDT
Loretta Lynch is still waiting to be confirmed as attorney general, and her allies are hoping a hunger strike will do the trick.
The advocacy group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, along with female civil-rights leaders, are launching the hunger strike – where groups of fasters will alternate days abstaining from food until Lynch is confirmed to replace Eric Holder at the Justice Department. Dubbed “Confirm Loretta Lynch Fast,” the new tactic is designed in the mold of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Cesar Chavez, organizers said.
“As long as the Senate refuses to take fifteen minutes to confirm someone for Attorney General that they have already confirmed twice for U.S. Attorney, [National Action Network] and our allies will do everything in our power to draw attention to this completely unfair and unnecessary delay to vote to confirm Loretta Lynch,” said Sharpton, who founded the National Action Network.
The group’s executive director, Janaye Ingram, added: “We stand with Loretta Lynch and are so in support of this cause that we are willing to sacrifice our daily meals to impress upon the U.S. Senate that it’s time to call a vote.”
The hunger strike is part of a broader public pressure campaign for Republican leaders to quickly hold a confirmation vote for Lynch, who has been stuck in a nomination purgatory ever since she cleared the Judiciary Committee in late February. Lynch, the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, would be the first black woman to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official.
Activists also plan to blitz Senate offices urging support for Lynch, write letters to the editor and op-eds, and launch a social media drive trying to bring attention to the effort.
Lynch has public support from five Senate Republicans—Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois. With support from all Senate Democrats, that would give Lynch 51 votes, enough to be confirmed.
But her nomination is tangled up in an unrelated Senate fight over a human-trafficking bill, which has been bogged down by a partisan dispute over its abortion provisions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated earlier this week that the chamber would not move on to Lynch until it resolves the dispute over that bill.
Seung Min Kim
Read more: Loretta Lynch supporters stage hunger strike to urge confirmation - Seung Min Kim - POLITICO