Eric Holder's Perfect Successor
A look at Loretta Lynch's obsession with race.
(/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/11/141108-loretta-lynch-mn-1235_808848110e47a65f68a0851a20700aea.jpg)It would be difficult to imagine any Attorney General nominee who could guarantee a more seamless transition from the Eric Holder years than Loretta Lynch, who has been the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York since 2010. Her uncanny ability to detect phantoms of white racism lurking ominously around every corner is proof-positive of her fitness to serve as Holder’s successor in the Obama administration.
Lynch believes that voter ID laws are part of a racist effort to suppress minority turnout at the polls. “Fifty years after the civil rights movement,” she avers, “we stand in this country at a time when we see people trying to take back so much of what Dr. [Martin Luther] King fought for … and [to] reverse the [gains] that have been made in voting in this country.” Consequently, Lynch is eminently “proud” that the Justice Department has filed suit against states which have enacted voter ID laws “seek[ing] to limit our ability to stand up and exercise our rights as citizens.” Lynch also supports efforts to restore the voting rights of (disproportionately black) convicted felons who “have served their debt to society”—a measure that would “en[d] the chain of permanent disenfranchisement that visits many of them.”
By Lynch’s reckoning, school discipline policies that result in higher rates of suspension and expulsion for nonwhite children than for whites, are racist as well. “Zero-tolerance programs,” she told a mostly black audience in 2013, “are often used [to] take our babies, minority children, black children, Hispanic children, and they put them out of school before they have a chance to learn.” Building on this theme, Lynch praised the Justice Department for having “gone into the South, although we’re looking further, and brought the first … ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ cases against school districts in Alabama.” The question of whether black youth exhibit disproportionate levels of disruptive behavior in the classroom—perhaps partially as a consequence of the black community’s high rate of father-absent households—did not spark Lynch’s curiosity in the least. The tidy, all-purpose explanation of racial insensitivity was sufficient for her purposes.
In April 2014, Lynch participated in a panel titled “Strengthening the Relationship Between Law Enforcement and Communities of Color” alongside Eric Holder and none other than Al Sharpton, who has never been known to squander an opportunity to depict white police officers as trigger-happy bigots when dealing with black suspects. One of the panel’s “action items” stated authoritatively: “Remember that racial bias is pervasive. Research has shown that people who are not consciously mistrustful of African Americans or intentionally racist can still behave in a way that is influenced by racial bias.” In other words, even well-meaning whites in law-enforcement are little more than unwitting Klansmen.
Lynch recently spoke about the need to “eliminate,” from the American criminal-justice system, all forms of “racial discrimination” against “the most vulnerable members of society.” Lamenting that the U.S. “currently … imprisons approximately 2.2 million people” who are “disproportionately people of color,” she emphasized the need to “reform … this aspect of our criminal justice system.” In particular, Lynch applauds the recently enacted “reduction in the sentencing disparity” that once existed between crimes involving crack cocaine (a drug most often used by poor blacks) and powder cocaine (whose users are typically more-affluent whites). Conspicuously absent from Lynch’s assessment, however, is any mention of the fact that in 1986, when the strict, federal anti-crack legislation was first being debated, the Congressional Black Caucus—deeply concerned about the degree to which crack was decimating black communities across the United States—strongly supported the legislation and actually pressed for even harsher penalties.
Lynch has long opposed capital punishment because of its alleged bias against blacks and Hispanics. “Apply the death penalty to securities fraud prosecutions [committed mostly by whites] and [you’ll] wipe out [the racial disparity] just like that,” she said sarcastically during a 2002 roundtable discussion. But even if someone could convince Lynch that capital punishment could be applied without any racial bias whatsoever, she would nonetheless view it as immoral because of the disparate impact it would continue to have on nonwhites, who commit homicides—i.e., the crimes that are subject to the death penalty—at much higher rates than whites. “That, to me, has always been the problem with the death penalty,” says Lynch. “Because you can be as fair as possible in a particular case, but the reality is that the federal death penalty is still going to hit harder on certain groups.”
In recent years Lynch collaborated with Attorney General Holder in a high-profile Justice Department investigation that ultimately forced Citigroup to pay a $7 billion fine for having made so many “subprime” mortgage loans with a high probability of default, thereby helping to trigger the 2008 financial crisis that, as Lynch puts it, “devastated the nation and the world’s economies.” Content to depict corporate greed and insufficiently regulated markets as the principal causes of the economic calamity that struck six years ago, Lynch makes no mention of the various _government_ policies—most notably the Community Reinvestment Act—which, in the name of “social and economic justice,” required banks to knowingly lend money to underqualified borrowers, particularly nonwhite minorities, and thereby set the stage for crisis.
Myopic vision. Distrust of the free market. Obsession with race. This is Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s new Attorney General. It’s a job she was born for.
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