During the Wednesday afternoon session of Loretta Lynch’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., pressed the attorney general nominee over her position on voting laws—and at one point tried to show she’d contradicted herself. Tillis, elected to the Senate in November, asked Lynch about the sweeping voting bill North Carolina’s governor signed into law in August 2013 while Tillis was speaker of the House in the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature. “It’s not something that I’m intimately familiar with,” Lynch, born in Greensboro, N.C., responded. “I look forward to learning more about it should I be confirmed, and I believe the matter will proceed to court and we will await the results there.” Tillis then focused attention to remarks Lynch delivered on a Martin Luther King Day celebration in January 2014. At the time, Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, had more pointed comments about her native state’s new voter laws. “Fifty years after the march on Washington, 50 years after the civil rights movement, we stand in this country at a time when we see people trying to take back so much of what Dr. King fought for,” Lynch said in comments available on video. “People try and take over the Statehouse and reverse the goals that have been made in voting in this country.”
“But I’m proud to tell you that the Department of Justice has looked at these laws and looked at what’s happening in the Deep South, and in my home state of North Carolina has brought lawsuits against those voting rights changes that seek to limit our ability to stand up and exercise our rights as citizens,” Lynch said. “And those lawsuits will continue.”
The U.S. Supreme Court in October permitted, over the dissents of justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, North Carolina’s elimination of same-day registration and termination of out-of-precinct voting to go into effect for the November elections, reversing a preliminary injunction issued by the Fourth Circuit.