TIME millenials

Poll: Millennials Distrust Justice System, Soften on Democrats

Youth still favor Democrats, Clinton, but margins tighten

Nearly half of young American voters do not have confidence in the justice system, according to a new Harvard survey of millennials.

The poll of 18-29 year olds released Wednesday by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP) found an even 49%-49% split among the age group on the question of the system’s “ability to fairly judge people without bias for race and ethnicity.” The nationwide #BlackLivesMatter movement finds broad support among millennials, but less so among white 18-29 year olds, of whom only 37% support the demonstrations. Less than a majority believe the protests will result in effective change to policing practices.

Millennial voters overwhelmingly support efforts to require police officers to wear body cameras to record interactions with their communities, while 60% support policies to require police departments to demographically reflect the neighborhoods they serve. But the age group is split 49%-49% on whether eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses would make the system fairer.

Despite growing up in an age of two wars, 57% of 18-29 year olds would support deploying ground troops to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). The poll also found a significant bump in favor of American interventionism among the age group, though a majority still believe that the UN and other countries should take the lead in handling international crises.

Young Americans remain a solidly Democratic constituency, but by smaller margins than previous cycles. The poll found that 55% of the age group would prefer a Democrat to win the White House next year, with 40% supporting a Republican for the post. The gap between the parties is significantly smaller than President Barack Obama’s 2012 margin with the same cohort of 60% to 37%.

In the primaries, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds an overwhelming lead with the age group, while millennials are widely split on the Republican side, with Ben Carson leading with 10%, followed by Sen. Rand Paul, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Obama’s approval rating among the age group jumped 7 points from October, to his highest approval rating since 2013.

While trust in government institutions has declined since 2010, millennial trust of the military, the Supreme Court, the president, the UN, the federal government, and Congress all increased from 2014 by a significant margin—with the military the only entity with a rating above 50%.

The web-based poll of 3,034 18-29 year olds was conducted by the IOP and KnowledgePanel from March 18 through April 1 and has a margin of error of ±2.4 percentage points.

TIME justice

Baltimore Picks Up Pieces, Wary of Another Night of Violence

After a night of violence, a city tries to turn the page

At the corner of North and Pennsylvania Avenues in West Baltimore, volunteers carried blackened shelves out of the scorched CVS pharmacy. Kids wearing surgical masks against acrid fumes loaded bags of trash into the bed of a truck. Motorcyclists in leather vests patrolled the crowd for signs of unrest. Students in college sweatshirts and peacekeepers in matching black tees linked arms to form a human chain separating the cops from the furious community they are paid to protect.

The scene in Baltimore on Tuesday might seem surreal if it weren’t sadly familiar by now. The riots that broke out here Monday torched buildings and stores, injured at least 20 officers and left a stricken community without faith in police or politicians searching for ways to channel the chaos into change. As night fell, the city braced for a return of violence, with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan overseeing a deployment of 2,000 National Guard troops and 1,000 more police to protect the city.

A Baltimore-wide curfew went into effect at 10 p.m., until 5 a.m., but groups of people around the city were still seen in the streets near lines of officers. Just before midnight, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters that only 10 arrests had been made. “The curfew is, in fact, working,” he said. “The city is stable.”

The death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died this month of severe injuries incurred while in police custody, may have been the spark that set this city ablaze. But the kindling has been piling up for decades, a combustible combination of crushing poverty, joblessness, segregation, poor schools and a police department with an ugly record of abuses. Baltimore, residents say, was ready to burn.

“We’ve reached a boiling point,” says Michael Coleman, 38, a leader of the Baltimore social-justice organization United Workers. “This isn’t the first case of police brutality, abuse or murder. It’s systematic.”

MORE: Baltimore Mayor Defends Handling of Riots

The list of grievances runs long in this stretch of West Baltimore, where groups of youths linger on corners and the gritty commercial strips are a blur of chop shops, check-cashing stores, beauty salons and carryout joints. Unlike in Ferguson, Mo., or New York City, where communities made martyrs last year of unarmed black men who died at the hands of police, Gray’s name was on few people’s lips. The unrest, people conceded, bore little connection to the man whose death catalyzed it.

“Behind your actions, you have to have something to say,” says Destiny Morning, 20. “It started off with a good message: justice.” But the Walmart employee—who said she wanted “a real protest, not riots”—saw the cause sidetracked by senseless destruction. Instead of mourning Gray or campaigning to reform police practices, a band of high-school kids threw bricks and snapped selfies in front of smoldering squad cars—macabre trophies in a city whose absence of hope or jobs can make kids feel like revenge is reward enough.

The causes of the unrest are similar in many ways to the structural problems afflicting hollowed-out communities around the country. But Baltimore, local residents say, is just a little different—grittier and angrier, a major city fierce with pride but plagued by gangs and largely bereft of opportunity for the impoverished. “Baltimore is a victim of its own insecurity,” says Gerard King, a 25-year-old hip hop artist. “This is something poverty breeds, specifically in men. Nothing makes you feel like a man more than being able to make a living.”

Even many people who condemned aspects of the rioting said they understood it on some levels as an expression of rage and hopelessness at an unequal society. “Some of it is necessary,” argues Michael Battle, 17, who said he supported the looting of stores but did not condone violence or setting fires. “It sends a bigger message.”

MORE: Baltimore Mom Explains Why She Smacked Son at Riot

As residents braced for another night of chaos, community leaders sought to impart a sense of purpose and peace. With public schools closed, kids packed a community room at Empowerment Temple Church in the city’s Park Heights neighborhood. Hunched at plastic tables spread across yellow-and-green floors, they listened to a series of speakers and ate a pizza lunch donated by locals. “They riot with no purpose because we give them no purpose,” says Anthony Reliford, a minister at the church. “Everything has been set back another 10, 15, 20 years – in one moment.”

When you don’t trust the city’s institutions to govern you, you have to govern yourselves. For much of Tuesday, the emotional crowds seemed to be winning that battle. Locals said cleanup crews were on site at the epicenter of the rioting early Tuesday morning. By the afternoon a crowd of hundreds flooded the intersection under sunny skies, singing, praying, yelling, kibitzing—waiting for the mayhem to erupt again, as everyone expected.

Sure enough, scattered tumult erupted early, in the form of a fistfight and a few water bottles tossed at police. But the cops, aided by the crowd, stamped it out quickly. “It contradicts all the good we’re trying to accomplish here,” says Robert Baker, 45, president of the Baltimore chapter of the Ruff Ryders motorcycle club, and part of a motley array of groups that assigned itself peacekeeping duties.

Shaking his head, Baker wandered off into the crowd in search of partners. Nearby a group of teenagers stood on the corner in front of the burnt-out CVS. Propped next to the entrance was a hand-lettered sign that read: “It’s Your World.”

TIME Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s Conservatives Switch Sides in Gay Marriage Logic

Supreme Court Gay Marriage
Jose Luis Magana—AP Demonstrators stand in front of a rainbow flag of the Supreme Court in Washington on April 28, 2015.

Supreme Court justices met Tuesday for the second time in two years to debate the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans. The case could lead to a decision that would outlaw the bans across the country this June

Should the Supreme Court take into account the opinions of the rest of the world when reading the Constitution? In the past, some conservative justices have argued it should not, but they seemed to take the opposite tack Tuesday when debating gay marriage.

“Do you know of any society, prior to the Netherlands in 2001, that permitted same-sex marriage?” Justice Antonin Scalia asked an attorney representing gay couples who wanted their marriages to be recognized. “You’re asking us to decide (whether to approve same-sex marriage) for this society when no other society until 2001 ever had it.”

Jumping off that question, Justice Samuel Alito noted that even though there have been cultures that “did not frown on homosexuality” — such as ancient Greece — they did not recognize same-sex marriage either.

And Chief Justice John Roberts talked about how limiting marriage to a man and a woman was “a universal aspect of marriage around the world.”

The implication was clear: Other countries haven’t recognized same-sex marriage, therefore the United States doesn’t need to either.

In the past, Scalia in particular has taken a dim view of that same logic when applied to other topics. In 2005, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited international law in a majority opinion which held that imposing the death penalty on Americans under the age of 18 was a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.”

“The overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty is not controlling here, but provides respected and significant confirmation for the Court’s determination that the penalty is disproportionate punishment for offenders under 18,” he wrote in a footnote to Roper v. Simmons.

That inspired a sharp rebuke in a dissenting opinion from Scalia, who argued that the court should not “take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures.”

“I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment … should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners,” he wrote.

In politics, this kind of reversal is typically greeted with condemnation, catcalls of “flip flopping” and hypocrisy. But Eugene Volokh, a constitutional law professor at UCLA, said that it wouldn’t be fair to level the same accusations against the justices.

Oral arguments like Tuesday’s hearing are more freewheeling, he said. The justices aren’t necessarily laying out eternal principles as they are trying on different arguments for size, seeing what kind of reaction they got. Sometimes, like guests at a long-running dinner party, they’re just trying to needle each other or make something akin to an inside joke with each other.

Volokh noted that Kennedy, who is expected to be the swing vote in favor of gay marriage in this case, had cited a decision in the European Court of Human Rights and a committee report to the British Parliament in a 2003 decision overturning sodomy laws, a key precedent in this case.

“There might be a little bit of tweaking going on here,” he said. “In a way he’s saying, you were willing to look at international matters there, are you willing to look at them here now?”

There’s also a substantive case to be made. Conservative justices such as Scalia believe that the Constitution makes America unique and separates our legal traditions from the rest of the world, which means the opinions of other countries don’t matter when you’re interpreting, say, the Eighth Amendment, but they might matter if you were trying to show that there’s nothing prejudiced about banning gay marriage.

Still, the accusation of flip flops stings in politics for a reason. Supreme Court justices can argue for American exceptionalism one week and for following world opinion in another, but it won’t help them in the truly highest court in the land: the court of public opinion.

TIME justice

Evangelicals Divided as Supreme Court Considers Gay Marriage

Supreme Court Gay Marriage
Andrew Harnik—AP A rainbow colored flag flies in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, April 27, 2015, as the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage on Tuesday.

A longtime opponent of same-sex marriage, Pastor Samuel Rodriguez gave a benediction at the last Republican National Convention, sits on the executive board of the National Association of Evangelicals and will host two likely presidential candidates, Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, at a gathering of 1,000 Hispanic leaders in Texas on Wednesday.

But if you ask the founder of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference how Republicans should react if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to legalize gay marriage nationwide this year, he doesn’t toe a very hard line. “The Republican position will not be, ‘We will fight arduously to turn back what the Supreme Court has ruled,’ ” he said. “I don’t think you will hear that at all, as a matter of fact.”

Some of Rodriguez’s fellow Republican and social conservative leaders agree, but not all. In fact, it’s hard to find a single strategic plan for opponents of same-sex marriage, many of whom plan to gather Tuesday at the Supreme Court, where the justices will meet for the second time in two years to debate the constitutionality of gay and lesbian marriage bans. The case could lead to a decision that would outlaw same-sex marriage bans this June.

Tony Perkins, the head of the conservative Family Research Council, says that if the court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, the proper strategy is to mount a campaign against judicial overreach modeled after the pro-life campaign against the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which found women had a constitutional right to an abortion. Decades after the decision, opponents of abortion continue to make legislative gains in statehouses across the country. “That issue is far from resolved and this will continue to be an issue in the political world from presidential races all the way down,” Perkins says.

Others like Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, say that the right move is to elevate the issue of marriage in the coming Republican primary contest. “From our view a bad decision will only reinforce how important it is to elect candidates who are going to be wise in appointing judges and justices,” Moore told TIME. “I don’t think a candidate who supports gay marriage could be nominated by the Republican Party right now.”

There is a third group of Christian leaders that have been encouraging even more drastic action: An effort by governors and legislatures to resist a Supreme Court ruling that strikes down bans on same-sex marriage. “Lincoln did not enforce Dred Scott decision,” Huckabee wrote in a recent email distributed by evangelical activist David Lane, referencing a court decision on slavery that helped spark the Civil War. “[A]nd there are several cases where Presidents (Jefferson and Jackson for example, which must be a challenge to Dems who celebrate Jefferson/Jackson Dinners) determined that the courts were wrong and refused to surrender to one of the three branches of government.”

“I’m stunned at the sitting Senators and Governors (Republican no less) who act as if when the SCOTUS rules, it’s forever settled,” Huckabee continued, using an acronym for the Supreme Court of the United States. “The 3 branches are EQUAL. The judicial cannot make nor enforce law.”

Read more: New Strategy Against Gay Marriage Divides 2016 Field

Those views could make for some interesting conversation among participants at Rodriguez’s conference this week. For Rodriguez, who has also been focused on issues like prison and immigration reform, the best strategy forward is to move away from the court’s decision and to start working to protect religious people and institutions who will continue to define marriage as between a man and a woman. “The major pivot will be social conservatives will say, ‘The future of American Christianity is at stake,’” Rodriguez said. “We have been labeled as bigots and homophobes when we are not, and oh boy, this election is about religious liberty and the future of American Christianity.”

But that vision assumes social conservatives speak with one voice, an outcome that is far from certain on the eve of Supreme Court arguments.

TIME justice

Trust-Busting Isn’t Back. Comcast Was Just Unlucky.

The Comcast Corp. logo is seen as Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corp. (R) speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 11, 2013.
Bloomberg/Getty Images The Comcast Corp. logo is seen as Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corp. (R) speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 11, 2013.

Comcast walked away from its $45.2 billion proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, according to a statement released Friday.

The unexpected change of heart—attributed to unnamed sources by Bloomberg News, CNBC and the New York Times (Comcast declined to comment to TIME)—comes just a day after government officials at the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department expressed doubt this week that a marriage between the nation’s two largest cable companies would serve the public interest.

But advocates for robust antitrust action shouldn’t celebrate too much. The collapse of the merger had more to do with the specifics of this particular deal than a return to the 1970s, when the federal government last engaged in energetic trust busting.

For starters, the two companies involved in this particular marriage are uniquely unpopular. In poll after poll, Americans ranked both Comcast and Time Warner Cable as among the most-hated companies in the country. The prospect of two nationally despised companies merging into one bigger despised company did not earn much public support. Though 97 members of Congress signed a letter in 2011 in support of the unprecedented merger between Comcast and the much less-hated NBC Universal, this time around, there was hardly a peep.

Weak public support for the deal was also exacerbated by bad timing. The announcement of the proposed merger in February 2014 just happened to coincide with what became, over the course of the last year, a frothy, nationwide debate over net neutrality, the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally. While Comcast did its very best to separate its proposed merger from the hubbub over a free and open Internet, it was a tough sell. Comcast, which charged Netflix for faster delivery of its content—a violation of many people’s idea of net neutrality—found itself constantly in the news.

But even if the environment had been pristine for a merger of two giant companies, the fact that Comcast and Time Warner Cable are regulated by the FCC meant that, unlike with most mergers, this one always had to clear two separate hoops: one with the FCC and one with the Department of Justice.

The FCC was charged with determining whether the transaction would serve “the public interest, convenience, and necessity”—a nebulous standard that only exacerbated the companies’ problems. Meanwhile, the Justice Department had to decide whether the larger, combined Comcast would constitute a monopoly—another vaguely worded mandate that left room for interpretation.

The FCC, while technically an independent agency, doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Just weeks after President Obama expressed support for the strongest-possible net neutrality rules last November, the FCC proposed them. So it’s perhaps not insignificant to mention that Obama, a second-term Democrat who’s currently going to battle with liberals by supporting the biggest free-trade deal of all time, would throw the left a bone by quietly encouraging both agencies to slow-roll a merger that most Americans hated anyway.

If Comcast walks away from the Time Warner Cable merger as reported, anti-trust groups who vehemently opposed the deal will celebrate.

But there’s no reason to believe that the $49 billion merger between AT&T and DirecTV—or any of the other huge marriages coming down the pike—won’t go through without a hitch. Anti-trust organizations may have won a battle, but they’re still losing the war.

TIME justice

What’s the Deal With the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger?

The Comcast Corp. logo is seen as Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corp. (R) speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 11, 2013.
Bloomberg/Getty Images The Comcast Corp. logo is seen as Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corp. (R) speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 11, 2013.

The gargantuan, $45.2 billion merger between the nation’s two largest cable companies, Comcast and Time Warner Cable appears to be hitting a regulatory wall.

Here’s the quick-and-dirty on what’s going down:

Wait, I thought this thing was a done-deal?

You and everyone else. When Comcast first announced the proposed merger 14 months ago, in February 2014, industry insiders thought it was a slam dunk. But late last week, news broke that officials at the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice would hold a meeting this week that, at the very least, would slow the approval process down.

What are the FCC and the Justice Department worried about?

If the merger goes through, a combined Comcast-TWC would control 30% of the pay-TV market, with roughly 30 million subscribers — three times the number of its closest cable competitor. It would also control almost 60% of the country’s market for broadband Internet, the pipe through which an increasing number of Americans watch TV, thanks to companies such as Netflix and Hulu (which Comcast also owns in part). FCC officials have expressed concern that such a merger would “not be in the public interest,” while Justice Department lawyers have whispered that it just might be big enough to trigger anti-trust actions.

So what happened this week?

On Wednesday, the FCC and Justice Department officials met with muckety-mucks at Comcast and TWC to cordially express their misgivings, according to a source familiar with the meeting. FCC officials said they may recommend that the merger be subject to an additional round of scrutiny, which means more meetings, more hearings, and more airing of Comcast’s laundry.

Uh-oh. That doesn’t sound good for the merger.

It’s definitely not. But it’s also hardly a death knell. While FCC and Justice Department officials stress that the merger could still go through, regulatory experts say the process will likely be long and tedious, since there’s no official timeline for when a decision will be made.

So what happens now?

Top lobbyists at Comcast and TWC are expected to spend the next few months doing their very best to cajole officials at the FCC and Justice Department to just push the deal through.

What’s Comcast and TWC’s very best argument in favor of the merger?

The two companies don’t overlap geographically. If you’re a TWC subscriber in New York City, for example, you couldn’t switch over to Comcast even if you wanted to; Comcast doesn’t offer service there. So combining the two companies doesn’t reduce cable and broadband Internet customers’ choices. And, anyway, since Comcast’s broadband service is faster than TWC’s in some places, some current TWC customers could actually see their service improve under Comcast. Comcast, which also owns NBC Universal, also argues that it has to be big in order to compete with enormously popular web streaming companies, such as Netflix and Apple TV.

So what are some government officials and public interest groups’ argument against the merger?

The biggest issue is the power that a combined Comcast-TWC would have on the greater TV/Internet marketplace. It could, for example, wield an unfair competitive advantage against both TV producers, who negotiate to license their content to cable companies, and online video streaming companies, like Netflix, which rely on broadband service providers to deliver their content quickly. Comcast already owns NBC Universal, one of the biggest TV producers, and part of Hulu, one of the biggest streaming TV producers.

What happens next?

At this point, what’s happening inside the FCC and the Justice Department is unclear. Neither agency is under any obligation to make its thinking public at this stage. And while industry insiders say the best weathervane is Wall Street, that’s much help these days either: Comcast stock dropped precipitously on Friday, when news of this week’s meeting with the FCC broke, but skyrocketed again at the close of business Wednesday, stretching up close to a five-year high.

TIME Marijuana

Marijuana Reform Activists Push for Change with DEA Head

DEA administrator Michele Leonhart testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in a hearing on sexual harassment and misconduct allegations at the DEA and FBI in Washington on April 14, 2015.
James Lawler Duggan—Reuters DEA administrator Michele Leonhart testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in a hearing on sexual harassment and misconduct allegations at the DEA and FBI in Washington on April 14, 2015.

And the resignation of Chief of Administration Michele Leonhart offers the chance for change

Marijuana legalization advocates are excited about the departure of Michele Leonhart, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, whom they long considered an obstruction in their goal of reforming the nation’s drug laws.

“We are happy to see her go,” says Dan Riffle, the director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project. “She’s a career drug warrior at a time when we’ve decided the ‘War on Drugs’ is an abject failure.”

Leonhart has been at the DEA for 35 years and served as the top dog since 2007. Though the recent scandal involving agents soliciting sex from prostitutes is what will likely most clearly tarnish her reputation, her position on drug policy has led marijuana reform activists to call for her resignation, says says Neill Franklin of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Franklin, a veteran of the Maryland state police, calls her position on marijuana reform “archaic.”

Leonhart has been a major hurdle in the effort to reconsider marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance, which could pave the way for more research into the health benefits of the drug. In 2011, the agency again rejected a petition to reschedule marijuana. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the agency spent about $100 million in 2012 alone on enforcement regarding medical marijuana laws.

“Leonhart opposed medical marijuana, she opposed sentencing reform, she opposed pretty much everything that Obama was doing and for that matter everything Congress was doing,” says Bill Piper, the director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.

The Drug Policy Alliance is one of several drug and marijuana policy organizations that have previously called for Leonhart’s removal. Following a speech in which Leonhart was critical of Obama’s assertion that smoking marijuana was no more harmful that drinking alcohol, the Marijuana Policy Project and over 47,000 citizens called for her to resign. A Drug Policy Alliance petition called for her removal following revelations that the DEA had been tracking citizens’ phone calls for decades. Organizations including Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws have also called for her resignation.

Though who will be filling in for Leonhart isn’t yet clear, activists say her replacement should be more supportive of ongoing reform initiatives, including reducing mass incarceration and taking the health impact of drugs into consideration when formulating policy. What’s more, Piper says, her removal could lead the Obama administration to reschedule marijuana before the President leaves office.

“This offers a good opportunity for marijuana reform to move forward quicker than it has been moving,” Piper says.

More than that, though, it could signal and even steeper change to policy regarding the enforcement of drug laws. As more states consider legalizing marijuana in some form—23 states have legalized medical use and four have given the green light to toking up recreationally. Six additional states could consider legalization during the 2016 election. As the nation’s stance on that shifts, so too should its approach to drug enforcement, advocates say.

“Within the next 10 years, I see massive drug policy reform and therefore really an end to the DEA,” Franklin says. The new leader, he says, should approach the role as if he or she is “dismantling a decommissioned battleship and selling the pieces for scrap metal.”

“For most part, the DEA exists because they’re enforcing prohibition,” he adds. “I believe we’re moving away from prohibition and more toward health.”

TIME White House

Long Wait for Attorney General Nominee Will Soon Be Over

Loretta Lynch
Susan Walsh—AP Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 28, 2015 prior to testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on her nomination.

Loretta Lynch, the first female African American nominee for U.S. Attorney General, has waited over 160 days for her confirmation vote. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that her wait would finally be over this week, “hopefully” in the next few days.

The historic hold-up ended as Senate negotiators announced an agreement Tuesday on an anti-human trafficking bill containing abortion language anathema to Democrats. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that Republicans had agreed to their request not to expand the scope of the Hyde amendment, which bars the use of taxpayer funds for abortions, and added that the lengthy debate was a “contrived fight.” Republican leadership said the Senate would take up the Lynch vote as soon as they passed the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell touted the anti-human trafficking bill as a celebratory moment for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

“It’s a stark reminder of the countless victims of modern slavery who continue to suffer horrifying exploitation at the hands of human traffickers — a stark reminder of the need to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act,” he said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “It’s a bill that victims groups and advocates have called ‘the most comprehensive and thoughtful piece of anti-trafficking legislation currently pending.’”

The breakthrough comes after President Obama sharply criticized the Senate Friday for stalling the Lynch nomination.

“Enough,” he said. “Enough. Call Loretta Lynch for a vote, get her confirmed, let her do her job. This is embarrassing.”

TIME White House

President Obama on Loretta Lynch Delay: ‘This is Embarrassing’

Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, Eric Holder
Susan Walsh—AP The top U.S. prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn, Lynch was one of the few names on President Obama’s short list without close ties to the White House. If confirmed, she would be the first ­female African-American Attorney General.

"It's gone too far," Obama said Friday. "Enough."

President Obama got impatient as he expressed his disappointment with Senate Republicans’ delay of Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch’s confirmation.

“It’s gone too far,” Obama said during a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. “Enough. Enough.”

Obama blasted the Senate’s “dysfunction” in failing to confirm Lynch, who is set to become the first black female Attorney General in the nation’s history. A career prosecutor from New York, Lynch has now waited twice as long for her confirmation as the last seven attorney general nominees combined.

Though Lynch received bipartisan support following her confirmation hearings earlier this year, the Senate has failed to bring a vote on her new position. In recent weeks, Senate Republicans have delayed a vote over an unrelated fight on abortion provisions in a bill aimed at providing aid to survivors of human trafficking.

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid threatened to force a vote on the Lynch nomination.

On Friday, the President said he was outraged. “Call Loretta Lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Let her do her job,” Obama said. “This is embarrassing, a process like this.”

TIME jeb bush

Jeb Bush Says Senate Should Confirm Loretta Lynch

Jeb Bush
Mark Humphrey—AP Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the National Rifle Association convention in Nashville on April 10, 2015.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush weighed in Thursday on the delayed confirmation of Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to be Attorney General, urging the Senate to move along with its consideration.

Answering questions at a town hall with New Hampshire primary voters at the Snowshoe Club, Bush, an all-but-announced Republican presidential candidate, stopped short of explicitly calling for Lynch’s confirmation. Her nomination to replace Attorney General Eric Holder has been stalled for an unusually long 160 days over a Senate showdown on an unrelated sex-trafficking bill that includes a controversial abortion provision.

“I think that Presidents have the right to pick their team,” Bush told a crowd of about 95 voters and a horde of media.

Bush said he had reservations about Lynch’s positions on gun control, but said presidential nominees deserve swift consideration.

“The longer it takes to confirm her, the longer Eric Holder stays as Attorney General,” Bush added, sending a signal to Republicans to lift their opposition to Lynch was only elongating the tenure of someone they like even less. “Look at it that way.”

Bush criticized Holder for having “politicized” his office, adding, “there should be some humbleness inside the Department of Justice.”

During the 60-minute Politics and Pie event, Bush was questioned about Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba and was challenged over his support of comprehensive immigration reform, telling one vocal critic, “I respect your view, but I don’t have to agree with it.”

He also addressed the dynasty question, joking that he’s not running for President to try to “break the tie between the Adams family and the Bush family,” referencing the second and sixth, and the 41st the 43rd Presidents, respectively.

Afterward, Bush, who brought a pair of key lime pies of south Florida’s famed Joe’s Stone Crab, sampled a blueberry pie, breaking his months-long paleo diet to sample some blueberry pie. “To hell with the diet … where are the french fries,” he quipped.

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