Sen. Rand Paul is opposing Loretta Lynch’s nomination for attorney general, saying her support for President Barack Obama’s immigration actions “rides roughshod on our Constitutional rights.”
The Kentucky Republican becomes the second of his party’s 2016 presidential contenders to publicly oppose Lynch’s confirmation as Eric Holder’s replacement as head of the Justice Department, joining Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Paul is the first Republican outside the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn who is seeking to become the first African-American woman to serve as attorney general.
“Mrs. Lynch has a track-record of violating the individual freedoms granted to us by our Constitution,” he said in a statement. “She considers civil asset forfeiture to be a ‘useful tool,’ while I consider it to be an infringement on the Fifth Amendment. She remains non-committal on the legality of drone strikes against American citizens, while I believe such strikes unequivocally violate rights granted to us by the Sixth Amendment.
“Mrs. Lynch also supports President Obama’s calls for executive amnesty, which I vehemently oppose,” Paul said. “The Attorney General must operate independent of politics, independent of the president and under the direction of the Constitution. I cannot support a nominee, like Mrs. Lynch, who rides roughshod on our Constitutional rights.”
Republicans grilled Lynch about her stance on Obama’s move to forestall some deportations during her confirmation hearing this month. Lynch said she sees the Justice Department’s legal analysis backing the president’s moves as reasonable.
Cruz has pushed Republicans to hold up Lynch’s confirmation as a procedural move to gain leverage against Obama over immigration.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Texas) has said he’ll support Lynch. But several of the committee’s GOP members — including Cruz, David Vitter of Louisiana, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and John Cornyn of Texas — say they’ll oppose her.