The Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor Thursday as the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court. The vote was 68-31 for Sotomayor, '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.
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.
She 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, Republicans and Democrats were deeply at odds over confirming Sotomayor, and 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.
The GOP decried Obama's call for "empathy" in a justice, painting Sotomayor as the embodiment of an inappropriate standard that would let a judge bring her personal whims and prejudices to the bench.
Congrats to Ms. Sotomayor. She deserves to be on the Supreme Court. And Republicans and conservatives in general still opposed to Sotomayor need to get over it, because even if it does turn out that Sotomayor's decisions are based on any liberal impartiality, it won't make a difference when you consider that she's replacing a liberal ideologue, David Souter, on the bench. My guess still says that Sotomayor will still be impartial--her overall record gives me hope.