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Paul And McConnell's Opposition To Loretta Lynch Riles Louisville's African American Leaders


African American leaders in Louisville are speaking out against Kentucky’s U.S. senators and their efforts to block the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as U.S. attorney general.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the vote to confirm Lynch. Sen. Rand Paul has vowed to vote against her nomination when it does happen. If confirmed, Lynch would be the first African American woman to become U.S. attorney general.

A coalition of Louisville Metro Council members, state lawmakers, the NAACP, the Urban League and others, are crying foul about the Republican senators' stances.

They said Lynch is qualified and highly recommended—and lawmakers have no reason to stall her confirmation.

State Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, said McConnell and Paul are putting politics ahead of their duties to confirm the president’s appointee.

“There is just no plausible excuse for doing this,” he said. “And some people are raising the question as to whether or not this so dismissive in how it’s handled by the senator is racially insensitive, particularly since this would be the first African American woman to ever be in a position where she can become the attorney general of the United States of America.”

Neal said he’s equally baffled as to why Paul—whom is currently eyeing a presidential run—would also oppose her nomination.

Paul has been actively courting the black vote by calling for criminal justice reform, among other things. But Neal said his opposition to Lynch’s nomination puts him at odds with African Americans.

“It raises a very serious question in the mind of many of my constituents,” he said. “We think it is not appropriate that Rand Paul is out Twittering against this nomination-- and for what?”

Lynch’s confirmation by the U.S. Senate is taking longer than any U.S. attorney general before, which Neal said is an outrage.

In a statement, Paul spokesman David Bayens wrote that among the reasons for Paul’s opposition is Lynch’s support of President Obama’s executive order allowing some undocumented immigrants to stay in the country without the threat of deportation, as well as her support of civil asset forfeiture. Lynch has also “refused to rule out executive authority to kill Americans on U.S. soil," Bayens wrote.

McConnell did not respond to a request for comment.
Update: McConnell's Camp's Response
"The only thing holding up that vote is the Democrats’ filibuster of a bill that would help prevent kids from being sold into sex slavery. The sooner they allow the Senate to pass that bipartisan bill, the sooner the Senate can move to the Lynch nomination," said McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer.