The current attorney general, Eric Holder, resigned last month.
Lynch is sure to be confirmed by either the present Democratic-controlled Senate this fall or by the newly constituted Republican-controlled Senate early next year — and she should be. But the process of confirming her should capture the interest of all Americans concerned about the loss of personal freedoms in our present-day Orwellian world in which the Obama administration has killed innocent Americans, spied on trillions of conversations and emails without probable cause, and declined to enforce laws with which it disagrees. Republican senators have a duty to ask her probing questions.
Is this just inside-the-Beltway stuff, or should you care who is the chief federal law enforcement officer in the land? You should care, and here is why. When the United States was founded, the essence of the government was the diffusion of power between the states and the federal government. At the outset, state attorneys general were the engines that drove law enforcement, as the U.S. attorney general was involved exclusively with governmental relations between the states and the feds and protecting federal interests — which included federal property and federal currency. The job came with a small office and a handful of remotely venued prosecutors. The states checked federal law enforcement excess by not cooperating with it or even judicially invalidating it.