The Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor today as the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court. The vote was 68-31 for Sotomayor, 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.
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.