Loretta Lynch Is A Dubious Nominee For Attorney General

CryingJusticeLoretta Lynch is an excellent nominee for Attorney General, and her prior actions in whitewashing the blatant and rampant criminality of HSBC should not be held against her, because she didn’t know that at the time she last whitewashed that criminal enterprise, right?

No. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a cop out by Lynch’s advocates. Lynch either knew, or damn well should have known. She signed off on the HSBC Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), if she was less than fully informed, that is on her. That is what signing legal documents stands for….responsibility. Banks like HSBC, Credit Suisse, ING etc were, and still are, a cesspool of criminal activity and avoidance schemes. Willful blindness to the same old bankster crimes by Lynch doesn’t cut it (great piece by David Dayen by the way).

But, all the above ignores the Swiss Alps sized mountains of evidence that we know Lynch was aware of and blithely swept under the rug by her HSBC DPA. So, we are basically left to decide whether Lynch is a bankster loving toady that is her own woman and cravenly whitewashed this all on her own, or whether she is a clueless stooge taking orders to whitewash it by DOJ Main. Both views are terminally unattractive and emblematic of the oblivious, turn the other cheek to protect the monied class, rot that infects the Department of Justice on the crimes of the century to date.

And that is only scratching the real surface of my objections to Lynch. There are many other areas where Lynch has proven herself to be a dedicated, dyed in the wool “law and order adherent” and, as Marcy Wheeler artfully coined, “executive maximalist”. Lynch’s ridiculous contortion, and expansion, of extraterritorial jurisdiction to suit the convenient whims of the Obama Administration’s unparalleled assault on the Rule of Law in the war on terror is incredibly troubling. Though, to be fair, EDNY is the landing point of JFK International and a frequent jurisdiction by designation. Some of these same questions could have been asked of Preet Bharara (see, e.g. U.S. v. Warsame) Loretta Lynch has every bit the same, if not indeed more, skin in the game as Bharara, whether by choice or chance.

Lynch has never uttered a word in dissent from this ridiculous expansion of extraterritorial jurisdiction. Lynch’s record in this regard is crystal clear from cases like US v. Ahmed, Yousef, et. al. where even Lynch and her office acknowledged that their targets could not have “posed a specific threat to the United States” much less have committed specific acts against the US.

This unconscionable expansion is clearly all good by Lynch, and the ends justify the means because there might be “scary terrists” out there. That is just dandy by American “executive maximalists”, but it is toxic to the Rule of Law, both domestically and internationally (See, supra). If the US, and its putative Attorney General, are to set precedents in jurisdictional reach on common alleged terroristic support, then they ought live by them on seminal concerns like torture and war crimes under international legal norms. Loretta Lynch has demonstrated a proclivity for the convenience of the former and a toady like disdain for the latter.

And the same willingness to go along to get along with contortion of the Rule of Law in that regard seems beyond certain to extend to her treatment of surveillance issues and warrant applications, state secrets, over-classification, attack on the press and, critically, separation of powers issues. Those types of concerns, along with how the Civil Rights Division is utilized to rein in out of control militarized cops and voting rights issues, how the OLC stands up to Executive overreach, whether OPR is allowed to continue to shield disgraceful and unethical AUSAs, and whether she has the balls to stand up to the infamously insulated inner Obama circle in the White House. Do you really think Loretta Lynch would have backed up Carolyn Krass and OLC in telling Obama no on the Libyan War Powers Resolution issue?

For my part, I don’t think there is a chance in hell Lynch would have stood up to Obama on a war powers, nor any other critical issue, and that is a huge problem. Krass and Holder may have lost the Libyan WPR battle, but at least they had the guts to stand up and say no, and leave a record of the same for posterity.

That is what really counts, not the tripe being discussed in the press, and the typically preening clown show “hearing” in front of SJC. That is where the rubber meets the road for an AG nominee, not that she simply put away some mobsters and did not disgrace herself – well, beyond the above, anyway (which she absolutely did) – during her time as US Attorney in EDNY. If you are a participant in, or interested observer of, the criminal justice system as I am, we should aspire to something better than Eric Holder. Holder may not have been everything hoped for from an Obama AG when the Administration took office in January of 2009, but he was a breath of fresh air coming off the AG line of the Bush/Cheney regime. Loretta Lynch is not better, and is not forward progress from Holder, indeed she is several steps down in the wrong direction. That is not the way to go.

The fact that Loretta Lynch is celebrated as a great nominee by not just Democrats in general, but the so called progressives in specific, is embarrassing. She is absolutely horrible. If Bush had put her up for nomination, people of the progressive ilk, far and wide, would be screaming bloody murder. Well, she is the same person, and she is a terrible nominee. And that does not bode well for the Rule of Law over the remainder of the Obama Administration.

And this post has not even touched on more mundane, day to day, criminal law and procedure issues on which Lynch is terrible. And horrible regression from Eric Holder. Say for instance pot. Decriminalization, indeed legalization, of marijuana is one of the backbone elements of reducing both the jail and prison incarceration rate, especially in relation to minorities. Loretta Lynch is unconscionably against that (See, e.g., p. 49 (of pdf) et. seq.). Lynch appears no more enlightened on other sentencing and prison reform, indeed, she seems to be of a standard hard core prosecutorial wind up law and order lock em up mentality. Lynch’s positions on relentless Brady violations by the DOJ were equally milquetoast, if not pathetic (See, e.g. p. 203 (of pdf) et. seq.). This discussion could go on and on, but Loretta Lynch will never come out to be a better nominee for Attorney General.

Observers ought stop and think about the legal quality, or lack thereof, of the nominee they are blindly endorsing. If you want more enlightened criminal justice policy, to really combat the prison state and war on drugs, and to rein in the out of control security state and war on terror apparatus, Loretta Lynch is a patently terrible choice; we can, and should, do better.

24 replies
  1. John Casper says:

    bmaz, thanks.

    OT, I heard today that “deferred prosecutions,” used to be reserved for juvenile offenders. If true, that would be a nice talking point for those on the right and left who are concerned about it being lavished on adults in the financial markets.

    • bmaz says:

      I don’t know that such is really true. DP’s are a concept that came out of several state court systems. The first incarnations federally were in jurisdictions I practice in. Frankly, they are a great idea for individuals on minor drug and other non-serious violent crime, but a plague when used to whitewash wholesale corporate crime.

  2. wallace says:

    Thanks bmaz. You help enlighten old farts trying to keep from floating over the Niagra Falls of bullshit.

  3. Teddy says:

    Clearly you do not understand how identity politics works in the Democratic Party, or were you simply unaware that Ms Lynch’s identity as the first African-American woman nominee to be Attorney General trumps — no, erases — all of your concerns as nobly stated above?

    This is how it works now, and you can bet everyone who might also be able to claim to be a “first” is closely watching this executive maximalist and law-and-order anti-pot authoritarian get confirmed. Because it’s the new playbook: be “special” looking, but do the Owners’ bidding.

  4. bloopie2 says:

    Who do you work for? Specifically, do you work for the US government, or do you work for the US people? How do you take into account the interests of the people, if it appears that the interests of the people may differ from the interest of the government? Do you ever seek to learn the interests of the people? Or do you stop, once you are told the interests of the government? When you have a sense (do you ever?) that the interests of the people may diverge from the interests of the government, how do you deal with that situation?

  5. bloopie2 says:

    The recently reported grabbing of cell phone encryption keys by the NSA from Gemalto, appears to be a case of plain old theft — certainly a chargeable action under federal or state law (construed any old way you want it). If the evidence appeared to show that this is true, would you charge the NSA for this, as being a violation of the rule of law?

  6. bloopie2 says:

    Dem gummamint folk seem awful concerned about us being hacked – strewth, that’s good. Strikes me though that they are spending lot of time hacking other folk, and not enough time teaching us to encrypt our own stuff. so we can’t get hacked. Am I wrong? What am I missing?

  7. jgorman says:

    Thanks bmaz, we can always count on you for telling us nonlegal beagles the straight dope. Almost makes me wish for Ramsey Clark…

  8. phred says:

    Trash Talk! It must be Sunday : )
    I agree bmaz, that Lynch is an awful nominee who ought not to be confirmed.
    The only problem is that Obama would then nominate someone else. And there is no chance, none whatsoever, that our worthless Democratic President would nominate anyone even marginally better than Lynch.
    The best one might hope for is a rebellious Senate refusing to confirm bad nominees. But not having an AG at all isn’t exactly a solution to the problem either. If only we had an enlightened President committed to the rule of law and the welfare of the republic… Can’t have everything, I guess ; )

    • Bay State Librul says:

      Yes, who is on-deck if Loretta is not confirmed?


      Unless we elect Warren, Wall Street wins

      Missed the final chapter on the Super Bowl. We were lucky to be on the Good Ship Reflection. Celebrity Cruises did a bang up job hosting the event in their Theater. The Pats fans to the left, and Seattle on the right. I still can’t believe they pulled it out of their arse.


      Can’t we have on final trash talk on the aftermath. Was Indy the culprit?

      • phred says:

        Sounds like a great way to watch the SB, but I bet the Seattle side of the room got really really quiet at the end. Shock can do that to people… ; )

        • Bay State Librul says:

          Yeah, I went to beddy-bye in a daze.
          I still want the Brady murky waters cleared up…. waiting for the next leak.
          In the meantime, I’m getting ginned up on fantasy baseball and fan duel, a betting
          site for washed up trash talkers…….


  9. RUKidding says:

    It doesn’t really matter who ObamaCo nominates to the position of AG. That person will be terrible in the job, except for the mega-rich, the merely rich and all those who are well-connected to the global crime cabals known as banks.
    I knew nothing about Lynch and didn’t even know her gender or ethnic background. Does it matter anymore? It’s like my idiotic “D” friends who gasp in horrified shock when I baldly state that I will never ever vote for Hillary Clinton for Pres (Not that it matters, really). WHAT?!!11! they shriek in abject appall-ment. But but but Vagina parts, etc.
    So Lynch has lady parts, too, and apparently is AA. So the PTB will tout those “attributes,” and if one says a peep about her bona fides, one is then mis-characterized as sexist or racist or both. Let’s just completely IGNORE who she is and what her work history is.
    Once I learned that Lynch shielded HSBC, then I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was a shoe-in for the jawb. Lynch, in the eyes of the PTB, is *eminently qualified* for this position bc what’s she’s got is what they want. Yes, the R-Team will mount a feeble “opposition” for the sake of the rubes, but really? The Rs are equally doing happy dances behind the scenes. Lynch is their gal as well.
    So same old, same old.
    And to think that on another blog today some schlub was lecturing about how there’s this suckingly huge difference between the R and the D Teams, and how we’d all be SORRY if the Rs end up “in charge” in 2016. What? I thought… aren’t they already? and haven’t they been in charge for, uh, like over 30 decades at least????

    • bmaz says:

      Well, unless you want the next three Supreme Court Justices appointed to be Alito clones, and for a WAY further radical right wing court than we have now to rule the country for the next 25-30 years, then it sure as hell does matter. It matters hugely.

        • bmaz says:

          We are going to have a vehement disagreement then, because I find the thought that permitting 3-4 new Alitos to become entrenched on SCOTUS to take the Rule of Law and society backwards for the next 30 years to be nothing short of insanity.

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