Dick Durbin ought to be ashamed of himself for this disgusting display of race baiting.
“On Wednesday morning, the No. 2 Senate Democrat accused Republicans of putting the African-American nominee for attorney general in ‘the back of the bus.’ Hours later, Tim Scott, the Senate’s only African-American Republican, shot back that Democrats are using ‘race bait’ in the fight over the long-stalled nomination.
To the already contentious battle over Loretta Lynch’s confirmation vote, add a dose of racial politics to the mix.
The bad blood comes at a moment of rising frustration among both parties over a stalemate on abortion language in a human-trafficking bill that shows no signs of abating. That impasse has swept up Lynch since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he will not allow a vote on the attorney general nominee until the trafficking bill passes. It failed again on Wednesday afternoon.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) took the first shot in the latest round of sparring with a Wednesday morning speech on the Senate floor that compared Lynch to civil rights icon Rosa Parks. ‘Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar,’ the Democratic whip declared. ‘That is unfair, it’s unjust, it is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate.’”
Yes, Durbin is correct about the cultural significance surrounding the fact that Loretta Lynch is the first woman of color to be nominated for Attorney General. However, there are many legitimate concerns regarding what she advocates.
Lynch is known as a leading proponent of civil asset forfeiture, a practice in which cops and other government entities can steal the property of people merely ACCUSED of a crime. Even when a person is found innocent, it can be nearly impossible for them to get what’s rightfully their’s back.
There are so many egregious examples of civil asset forfeiture nationwide, explaining how terrible it is would require an encyclopedia-sized book. Outrageously, government agencies consider this practice a legitimate way to collect revenue, despite the fact that it flies in the face of basic protections enshrined in our Constitution.
It’s truly gross that Durbin would use language that invokes the Civil Rights movement to sweep under the rug the fact that Lynch is one of the nation’s foremost advocates of a practice that disproportionately violates the rights of communities she’s allegedly representative of.
Essentially, Lynch is promoting the shady revenue-acquiring practices that created tension and hurt the impoverished in Ferguson on a national scale, with higher stakes and broader civil liberties implications. Even Eric Holder (who Lynch is vying to replace) recently took action to try to end this injustice.
If politicians want to use the history of Civil Rights to justify Lynch’s nomination, they need to live those values and help communities of color rather than hurt them. Employing divisive, racially-charged rhetoric while opening the backdoor to more abuses is horrific. I truly hope Durbin rethinks what he’s doing and changes how he discusses this issue.