WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday praised Attorney General Loretta Lynch as tough but fair and committed to justice, traits that have prepared her to make her mark as the American people’s lawyer.
During a second, ceremonial swearing-in ceremony for Lynch a few blocks from the White House at the Warner Theatre Obama noted Lynch’s experience in fighting terrorism, financial fraud and cybercrime, and said she has put “laser focus” on carrying out the Justice Department’s anti-terrorism, financial fraud and civil rights priorities.
“The law is her map; justice, her compass,” Obama said. “She is tough, but she is fair. She is firm but kind. Her intelligence and her judgment, her grace under fire have earned the trust and admiration of those she works with and those she serves, and even those she goes up against.”
Lynch is the 83rd U.S. attorney general and the first African American woman to hold the position. She was officially sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on April 27, but attorneys general often have a second swearing-in ceremony that more people can attend.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor performed the ceremony, using a Bible that once belonged to Frederick Douglass, an African-American human rights leader. Lynch, 56, was flanked by Obama, her parents and husband Stephen Hargrove as she took the oath of office.
Lynch, who joined Twitter before the ceremony, said she was honored, as both Douglass and Sotomayor are inspirations to her.
She thanked family, friends and colleagues during her speech and credited her father, the Rev. Lorenzo Lynch, with influencing her principles and dedication to public service.
“I stand before you today having been blessed beyond compare,” Lynch said. “But to whom much has been given, much is required.”
Lynch captured national headlines early in her tenure, launching a federal investigation of the Baltimore Police Department following the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died after suffering fatal injuries while in police custody.
That same month, she earned global recognition for United States government’s crackdown on FIFA, international soccer’s governing body.
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