US & Canada

Loretta Lynch confirmed as new US attorney general

Loretta Lynch Image copyright Getty Images

The US Senate has confirmed the nomination of Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general.

Her confirmation means she will be the first black woman to take up the post.

The 56-43 vote comes after a five-month delay during which the confirmation became entangled in a dispute over President Barack Obama's recent immigration reforms and other issues.

Ms Lynch replaces Eric Holder, who has served since the beginning of Mr Obama's presidency.

Welcoming the news of the confirmation, President Obama said "America will be better off for it".

She had waited since November for the vote, which became ensnarled in a bitter political debate that started with the immigration reforms announced that month, and ended most recently with contention around an unrelated bill to combat sex trafficking.

Ultimately, 10 Republicans voted in favour of her nomination and she is expected to take over as head of the US Justice Department on Monday.

Image copyright Getty Images

During her confirmation hearing, Ms Lynch told the panel that, if nominated, her focus would be on fighting terrorist threats, cyber-crime, and improving relations between law enforcement and minority communities.

When she assumes office, she will take on major financial cases involving some that allege prominent banks helped clients evade US taxes and manipulated the currency markets, Reuters reported.

Ms Lynch grew up in North Carolina. She most recently served as the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Janet Reno, who served from 1993 until 2001, was the United States's first female attorney general.