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First black, female US attorney general confirmed

April 23, 2015

The US Senate has confirmed the appointment of Loretta Lynch as the country's next attorney general. Lynch is the first black woman to hold the country's highest job in law enforcement.

Loretta Lynch
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/J. S. Applewhite

The US Senate voted in favor of Loretta Lynch on Thursday, making her the first black woman in the country's history to hold the position. Voting to confirm her for the position in the Senate had been held up for several months.

After the final poll, Lynch had 56 votes in her favor and 43 against. Despite her reputation as a tough prosecutor, the 55-year-old did not win by a wide margin because of her support for President Barack Obama's immigration policies.

Obama issued an order last November to prevent millions of illegal immigrants in the United States from being deported. Lynch was nominated for the attorney general's position around the same time as Obama announced the new policy.

The road ahead

Lynch earned a reputation as an aggressive counterterrorism prosecutor, but in her new role she will be expected to deal with civil rights cases, especially those dealing with police violence against unarmed black men.

A US attorney in New York, Lynch was also expected to deal with financial cases involving multinational banks which tried to evade US taxes and manipulated currency markets.

In a Senate hearing on January 28, Lynch said her priorities as the country's chief legal authority would be to fight terrorist threats and cyber crime and improve relations between law enforcement agencies and minority communities.

Lynch replaces outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.

mg/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)