The resistance to Massachusetts getting its first Black woman U.S. attorney has been so overt that the Boston Globe described it as “unusual pushback” as Republicans try to paint President Joe Biden‘s nominee as being “pro-crime” based on a flawed, partisan premise.
Rachael Rollins, who as Suffolk County District Attorney, on Thursday was given the latest in a series of setbacks in her nomination process to be U.S. attorney in Massachusetts after Senate Republicans disingenuously pointed to her record as well as a past allegation for which Boston’s top prosecutor was already formally cleared of any wrongdoing.
Both Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz were among the most vocal of people opposing Rollins’ nomination and claimed she and her policies have contributed to the spike in violent crime in the U.S., something they suggested without proof would continue if she is confirmed. The Senate Republicans have maintained their positions despite a coalition of bipartisan support for Rollins’ nomination, including Massachusetts Senate Democrats Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren along with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker as well as three former U.S. attorneys for Massachusetts who are Republicans.
Cotton flirted with racist dog-whistling when he claimed Rollins — the first Black woman to be Suffolk County District Attorney — has “radical pro-crime stances” and said she would be better off working in “the public defender’s office.”
Cotton announced immediately after Rollins was nominated that he intended to block her path forward.
Cruz claims Rollins “has been vocal and aggressive against prosecuting crime” because she has refused to prosecute low-level crimes, a policy being employed by a growing number of district attorneys around the country.
“If you want to steal a bunch of stuff, this is your person,” Cruz added.
While Republicans pointed to Rollins’ policies, their interest in her nomination was seemingly especially piqued when a white Boston woman claimed she was the victim of the DA’s alleged road rage late last year.
In a police complaint ultimately reviewed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Katie Lawson accused Rollins of threatening her and abusing her power. Lawson’s complaint alleged that Rollins activated her car’s sirens and lights and threatened to issue a ticket during an encounter at a shopping center on Dec. 24, 2020.
Rollins was ultimately cleared by Healey’s office. But Lawson, upon learning of Rollins’ nomination to be U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, has contacted U.S. Senators via emails and phone calls urging them to vote against the confirmation.
So far, Rollins is the only U.S. attorney nominee out of eight tapped by Biden to not be confirmed. The other seven were confirmed last week.
The opposition by Senate Republicans to Rollins’ nomination doesn’t mean that all bets are off for her. But it does mean that the confirmation process was delivered yet another delay in an example of partisan politics gone wrong — or right, depending on who you ask.
This is America.
Here Are All The Black People In Joe Biden's Cabinet And His Most Senior Advisers
1. Adewale Adeyemo, Deputy Treasury SecretarySource:Twitter 1 of 19
2. Gen. Lloyd Austin, Department of DefenseSource:Getty 2 of 19
3. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, vice chair of the Democratic National CommitteeSource:Getty 3 of 19
4. Kirsten Clarke, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights DivisionSource:Getty 4 of 19
5. Ashley Etienne, Kamala Harris’ Chief Communications Director
5 of 19
Ashley Etienne is the Communications Director for MVP Kamala Harris. She’s not new to the game. Etienne was the communications director for the House Oversight Committee under the late Elijah Cummings. Biden-Harris administration has chosen the best!👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/FLVgWZCdUn— silverprincess💛 (@marsha_vivinate) November 30, 2020
6. Tina Flournoy, Vice President's Chief Of Staff6 of 19
7. Rep. Marcia Fudge, Housing and Urban DevelopmentSource:Getty 7 of 19
8. Joelle Gamble, National Economic CouncilSource:Courtesy of Biden-Harris Transition Team 8 of 19
9. Shuwanza Goff, Deputy Director Of The White House Office Of Legislative AffairsSource:Joe Biden Communications Coalitions 9 of 19
10. Jamie Harrison, DNC ChairSource:Getty 10 of 19
11. Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Deputy Press SecretarySource:Getty 11 of 19
12. Brenda Mallory, Council on Environmental Quality ChairpersonSource:Getty 12 of 19
13. Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Co-Chair of Biden's Coronavirus Task Force
13 of 19
Finally, some science.— NewsOne (@newsone) November 16, 2020
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a doctor and college professor promoting health and healthcare equity for structurally marginalized populations, will co-chair Joe Biden's Covid task force.https://t.co/cUHso6sruX
14. Michael Regan, EPA
14 of 19
Biden picks Michael Regan, top North Carolina environmental official, to run EPA https://t.co/JJzYjFdevB— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 17, 2020
15. Susan Rice, White House Domestic Policy Council DirectorSource:Getty 15 of 19
16. Cedric RichmondSource:Getty 16 of 19
17. Cecilia Rouse, Council of Economic Advisors chairpersonSource:Getty 17 of 19
18. Symone Sanders, Vice President's spokesperson
18 of 19
All of the reporting I've seen has indicated @SymoneDSanders is the frontrunner for Press Secretary so I'm expecting her to be picked. But let me add to the chorus to say she is the CREDENTIALS pick in addition to being historic. #BlackWomenLead https://t.co/cvFGjq1xLB pic.twitter.com/4Qd5D14pVR— BlackWomenViews Media (@blackwomenviews) November 14, 2020