Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Loretta Lynch's Nomination for AG Post Moves a Step Forward

 / Updated 
Challenged by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch defends President Barack Obama's decision to shelter millions of immigrants from deportation though they live in the country illegally but she said they have no right to citizenship under the law, as she testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 during her confirmation hearing before the committee. Lynch made her remarks in the opening moments of a hearing into her appointment as the nation's first black female attorney general. It is the first confirmation proceeding since Republicans took control of the Senate this month. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

A key Senate panel has advanced the nomination of Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's pick to be the next attorney general.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 to move her nomination to a full vote in the Senate, where she is expected to be confirmed. If confirmed, she would be the first African-American woman to hold the job.

Three Republicans -- Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona -- joined with Democrats to vote in favor of Lynch's nomination.

Some conservatives see a vote for Lynch as a vote in favor of Obama's executive actions on immigration.

"This is the top law enforcement job in America, it is not a political position, and anyone who holds this position should have total fidelity to the laws and constitution of the United States," said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sesssions, who voted no. "They must be willing and able to tell the president no if he overreaches."

But Republicans who supported Lynch derided that notion as shortsighted.

"The case against her nomination, as far as I can tell, essentially ignores her professional career and focuses solely on about six hours that she spent before this committee on January 28th," Hatch said, referencing Lynch's earlier confirmation hearing. "I do not believe that is a proper way to evaluate any nominee's fitness for any position."

It's unclear when a final vote will occur on the Senate floor. A Senate GOP leadership aide says Lynch's nomination could be considered as soon as next week, but a final vote could slip into the second week of March.

- Frank Thorp and Carrie Dann

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.