President Barack Obama has formally nominated federal prosecutor Loretta E. Lynch to become the next U.S. Attorney General. The nomination made on November 9, 2014 came promptly after the current Attorney General, Eric Holder, tendered his resignation, and ahead of the January 2015 swearing in of the 114th Congress.
According to her court website biography, Lynch hails from New York, and currently serves as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, overseeing all federal criminal and civil investigations and cases in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Lynch received her Juris Doctor law degree from Harvard Law School (1984) and her undergraduate degree from Harvard College (1981).
The U.S. Attorney General heads the Department of Justice and, with various Assistant Attorney Generals, represents the United States in legal matters, advises the President, and advises the heads of executive departments.
Don’t know why this is important to you? The U.S. Attorney General heads the Department of Justice, which administers the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”). While we often talk in terms of the Director of the ATF, we need also to remember the direct line of authority flows upwards from the ATF Director to the U.S. Attorney General to the President.
Last year, among other relevant topics, the current U.S. Attorney testified before Congress in support of mandating smart gun technology and the proposed rulemaking on individuals facing disqualification from firearms ownership due to a mental health event. It’s a role that has industry wide implications.