WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate has confirmed Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court.
Falling well into the anticipated range, Thursday's vote was 68-31 for Sotomayor as President Barack Obama's first high court nominee. She becomes the 111th justice and just the third woman to serve.
Democrats praised the 55-year-old Sotomayor as a mainstream moderate. But most Republicans voted against her, saying she'd bring personal bias and a liberal agenda to the bench.
Nevertheless, several Republicans broke the GOP ranks during Thursday's vote.
Senators took the rare step of assembling at their desks on the Senate floor for the historic occasion, rising from their seats to cast their votes.
Sotomayor replaces retiring Justice David Souter, a liberal named by a Republican president, and she is not expected to alter the court's ideological split.
Still, the battle over her nomination highlighted profound philosophical disagreements that will shape future battles over the court's makeup as Obama looks to another likely vacancy — perhaps more than one — while he's in the White House.