Rachael Rollins’ confirmation as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts could come with a political price as President Biden’s latest liability.
Faster than you can say “nolle prosequi,” Sen. Ted Cruz made it clear that the Suffolk district attorney would be the GOP’s Exhibit A for “left-wing prosecutors” who look the other way while criminals get off scot-free in “Joe Biden’s America.”
Vice President Kamala Harris needed to break a 50-50 tie — twice, actually — in the U.S. Senate to save Rollins, as all Republican senators stood against her confirmation.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker now has to make a politically fraught decision to replace Rollins in the Suffolk D.A.’s office. Rollins was the first Black woman elected to that office and there will be pressure on the Republican governor to avoid the usual roster of white males like Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty to fill the void.
But there will also be pressure on Baker — who just announced his decision not to seek a third term — from the right to put a law-and-order Republican in the D.A.’s office.
For Rollins, it was the first time in nearly five decades that a U.S. Attorney had to be confirmed in a roll call vote.
Republicans, in fact, gave up opposing five other U.S. Attorney nominees the day before, allowing them to sail through without a vote.
But stubborn GOP senators would not cave in on Rollins, who has gained notoriety in conservative circles for her list of 15 different non-violent crimes she has directed her office not to prosecute.
And while Republicans ultimately lost, don’t expect this to be the last time you hear Rollins’ name invoked as a symbol of what they called radical Democratic left-wing prosecutors in the U.S.
Conservatives now will be putting Rollins under a microscope as she navigates her new job, which puts her in charge of all federal law enforcement agencies like Immigration and Customs in Massachusetts. And she will have U.S. Marshals at the ready to chase away any pesky reporters.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who is on the list of potential 2024 presidential contenders, spearheaded the opposition to Rollins along with Cruz, another possible White House candidate.
Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on his colleagues to block Rollins, noting rising crime rates in some cities across the nation.
And McConnell and others made it clear they would use Rollins against Biden to portray his administration as soft on crime.
“This soft-on-crime advocacy should have earned the nominee a pink slip. Instead, President Biden is giving her a promotion,” McConnell said.
Putting Harris in the unenviable position of casting the deciding vote in favor of Rollins was another smart move by the beleaguered Biden.
How much lower can she drop in the polls anyway?
This was her worst assignment since being put in charge of the Mexican border.
But unlike the border, for the Rollins vote she actually had to show up.
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