The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed consideration of the appointment of Suffolk County Attorney Rachael Rollins as the next U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts.
The committee withheld his nomination for a week as Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, seeks to prevent his name from going forward.
Announcing the delay Thursday morning, Judicial Committee Chairman Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, said the panel would review Rollins next week. The rules of the committee allow a member to request a delay in examining a candidate.
“I understand the minority asked for a candidate this morning. Rachael Rollins for the District of Massachusetts,” Durbin said, “which we will do and consider next week.”
A statement by Senator Cotton said he sought to prevent Rollins’ appointment because she “measures success as a prosecutor not by the number of victims for whom she obtains justice, but by the number of criminals she gets justice for. it helps to avoid the consequences “.
Cotton’s office said it was urging members of both parties to oppose his nomination.
“America needs public servants who will uphold the rule of law and stand up for victims of crime – Rollins has not and will not be doing it,” the Cotton statement said.
Rollins is known as a “progressive prosecutor” and has supported alternatives to charging people for low-level crimes that are often fueled by mental health and addiction issues. She also worked to overturn drug convictions based on flawed tests performed by former state chemists Annie Dookhan and Sonja Farak.
The Judiciary Committee wants to quickly approve President Biden’s appointments as a US lawyer, according to University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias. He points out that the committee approved the 85 American lawyers appointed by former President Trump and only had three names. Tobias thinks Rollins’ name is likely to move forward.
“I don’t see his appointment being seriously compromised,” said Tobias. “She might not get a crushing vote, but what difference does that make?”
Tobias expects Rollins’ appointment to be easily confirmed, possibly early next month.
The Judiciary Committee approved seven more candidates for U.S. attorney positions by wide margins at its meeting on Thursday.
In July, President Biden appointed Rollins to become Massachusetts’ top federal law enforcement official. If confirmed, she would become the first black woman to hold the position.
Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats, passed Rollins’ name on to the White House. Earlier this week, they sent dozens of letters of support for Rollins to the Judicial Commission. The letters came from a bipartisan group of current and former officials and law enforcement officials, including former Republican Governor and US Attorney for Massachusetts Bill Weld, former Republican US Attorney for Massachusetts Michael Sullivan, the District Attorney. Massachusetts General Maura Healey, Massachusetts State Police Col. Chris Mason, acting Boston. Police Commissioner Gregory Long, former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes.