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Loretta Lynch Faces Day 1 of Attorney Gen. Nomination Hearings

Today was thefirst of two days of hearingsby the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider the nomination of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch for the position of Attorney General.

If Lynch is confirmed by the Senate she would succeed Attorney General Eric Holder as the nation's first female African American attorney general.

While Lynch's nomination hearings are expected to be contentious, with Senate Republicans seeking to grill Lynch on the Administrations executive actions on immigration, management of the Justice Department, perceived politicization of the Justice Department, her independence as attorney general, and other issues, her eventual confirmation is expected.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats made their view clear that Lynch's nomination should be considered on the merits of her character and skills, rather than an as an avenue to discuss Attorney General Holder or the President's immigration policies.

With her opening statement, Lynch sought to hit the reset button on the relationship between Congress and the Justice Department. "I look forward to fostering a new and improved relationship with this committee, the United States Senate, and the entire United States Congress," Lynch said.

Lynch said her priorities as attorney general would be "to ensure the safety of our citizens, to protect the most vulnerable among us from crime and abuse, and to strengthen the vital relationships between America's brave law enforcement officers and the communities they are entrusted to serve."

Terrorism, cybersecurity, child exploitation and pornography, and human trafficking were also mentioned as high priority areas.

Facing questions from senators on President Obama's immigration actions, Lynch said she had reviewed the Office of Legal Counsel opinion provided to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and that she didn't "see any reason to doubt the reasonableness" of those views.

Lynch also stated at the hearing that she believed waterboarding was torture and illegal, that she believes "the death penalty is an effective penalty," that the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs are "constitutional and effective," and that marijuana is "still a criminal substance under federal law."

Below is a sample of reporting from around the country on today's hearing:

We'll cover day two of the hearings on this blog.

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