Loretta Lynch was sworn in as the 83rd attorney general of the United States Wednesday in an official ceremony conducted by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She is the first African American woman to hold the position.
Confirmed in April nearly six months after her nomination on November 8, Lynch “hit the ground running from day one,” as President Obama said in his speech at the ceremony.
“She already made her mark here at home and abroad, because of her laser focus on the core mission of the justice department: the protection of the American people,” he added.
In May, Lynch opened a Justice Department review of the Baltimore Police Department following the death of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody. She also earned worldwide recognition when she announced charges against numerous officials in FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, and promised to “root out corruption and to bring wrongdoers to justice” in the organization.
Before her confirmation, Lynch was the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, under Obama since 2010 and under President Clinton between 1999 and 2001.
In her remarks after her installation, during which she swore on Frederick Douglass’ bible, Lynch called the Justice Department “the conscience of this nation.”
“To the people of this great nation, I pledge to you, that your protection, your liberties and your rights will be my sacred charge,” she said. “To the law enforcement community, I promise that this department will be your partner as we work to carry out our highest mission, the protection of the people.”
Lynch also thanked Obama, Sotomayor, her family and everyone who helped her become attorney general. “You harnessed the spirit of public service, the spirit of civic contribution,” she said, “as well as the spirit of sisterhood to make this dream come to fruition.”
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Douglas Palmer, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0