WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Senate on Thursday confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination by a 68-31 vote, making her the first Hispanic on the high court.
Sotomayor’s confirmation also makes the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge the 111th person to sit on the Supreme Court, and the third female justice.
Nine Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic caucus in supporting her nomination.
The confirmation was read out by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota.
Senators spent the final morning of debate rehashing the main arguments for and against Sotomayor.
Democrats continued to praise Sotomayor as a fair and impartial jurist with an extraordinary life story. Many Republicans continued to portray her as a judicial activist intent on reinterpreting the law to conform with her own liberal political beliefs.
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, helped open the final day of debate by praising Sotomayor’s lengthy judicial record. He also took a swipe at the majority of Senate Republicans likely to oppose her.
Sotomayor “is a judge of unimpeachable character and integrity,” Leahy said. “These critics have … chosen to ignore her extensive record of judicial modesty and restraint, a record made over 17 years on the federal bench. Instead they focused on and mischaracterized her rulings in just a handful of her more than 3,600 cases.”
Conservative opponents had conceded the likelihood of Sotomayor’s confirmation and expressed hope that she would bring a “restrained approach” to the high court.
“I hope that on the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor will take an objective, modest and restrained approach to interpreting and applying written law,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey indicated a majority of Americans believed the chamber should confirm Sotomayor.
Fifty-one percent of those questioned in the poll, conducted Friday through Monday, said the Senate should confirm Sotomayor, with 36 percent opposed.
The poll suggests the rise in support came solely from women.
“Among men, there has been virtually no change in attitudes toward Sotomayor. Among women, however, support for Sotomayor’s nomination appears on the rise — from 47 percent in June to 55 percent now,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The poll also indicated a wide partisan divide over Sotomayor, with nearly three out of four Democrats saying that she should be confirmed, but only a quarter of Republicans agreeing.
The telephone poll of 1,136 Americans has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. The sampling error is larger for the questions broken down between gender and political party.
CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.