Rare delay temporarily stalls Rollins nomination

Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins. SHNS photo

Republicans on Thursday postponed for a week a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the nomination of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins to become the next U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.

President Joe Biden nominated Rollins in July to fill the top federal prosecutor's role in Massachusetts, which would bring her back to an office she worked in as an assistant U.S. Attorney earlier in her career. Eight U.S. Attorney nominees were on the Judiciary Committee's agenda for the first time on Thursday, and seven were advanced with a favorable recommendation.

"Significant prosecutorial experience. These nominees are well positioned to serve," said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Durbin said Rollins's nomination would be held over until next week at the request of the minority party. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican and member of the committee, had previously threatened to block Rollins's nomination over her p rogressive approach to prosecution, including her decisions to decline to prosecute some low-level, non-violent crimes.

Durbin said 85 nominees for U.S. attorney were processed by the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Trump administration, all of which were confirmed on a voice vote and only three were held over for a week in the committee after appearing on the agenda. Rollins's was the only nomination to be held on Thursday. Neither Cotton nor any other Republicans spoke on the decision to postpone the vote.