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Senate committee delays vote on Loretta Lynch confirmation

The Senate Judiciary Committee is postponing its vote on whether to confirm Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general.

The committee was slated to vote on President Obama's nominee to lead the Justice Department (along with other nominees) on Thursday. Instead, Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the vote will take place the last week of February. The committee must wait until after Congress returns from their Presidents' Day recess next week before they can hold the confirmation vote.

Loretta Lynch says she's no Eric Holder 01:17

"There are a number of requests to hold over her nomination," Grassley said.

The senator added that Lynch has yet to provide sufficient written responses to the questions he has for her.

"Unfortunately, Miss Lynch didn't provide very many responsive written answers, either," he said. "Now, I know that there's a lot of pressure to answer these questions quickly, but that doesn't excuse the incomplete answers. A nominee to be attorney general should take time to familiarize herself with the important issues the Department of Justice faces."

Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York, is expected to eventually win enough support in the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate to win confirmation. However, a handful of Republicans in the Judiciary Committee have said they oppose her nomination because, among other reasons, she supports Mr. Obama's executive actions on immigration.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, the senior Democrat on the committee, said that Republicans are holding Lynch to a "double standard." Other Democrats also complained about the delay.

"I can't understand why people would vote against her unless you're saying, 'She doesn't have the same views I have on every issue,'" Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said. "And then you should vote for no nominee, because there probably isn't one -- except yourself, if you are ever nominated. And then can't vote, I guess. But I can't understand why people are objecting to her on her merits, her qualifications are exceptional."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, one of the Republicans who is supporting Lynch, said that "she has all the qualifications that are needed." Hatch added,

That said, Hatch said that Grassley's insistence on getting some answers from Lynch before the vote is a "legitimate position."

"I would like to see him satisfied, because hopefully in my view he can support this nominee," he said.

CBS News Producer John Nolen contributed to this report.

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