Samuel Alito confirmed as the 110th Supreme Court justice


Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 11:04 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 11:04 a.m.

Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. became the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice on Tuesday, confirmed with the most partisan victory in modern history after a fierce battle over the future direction of the high court.

The Senate voted 58-42 to confirm Alito _ a former federal appellate judge, U.S. attorney, and conservative lawyer for the Reagan administration from New Jersey _ as the replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a moderate swing vote on the court.

All but one of the Senate's majority Republicans voted for his confirmation, while all but four of the Democrats voted against Alito.

That is the smallest number of senators in the president's opposing party to support a Supreme Court justice in modern history. Chief Justice John Roberts got 22 Democratic votes last year, and Justice Clarence Thomas _ who was confirmed in 1991 on a 52-48 vote _ got 11 Democratic votes.

Alito watched the final vote from the White House's Roosevelt Room with his family. He was to be sworn in by Roberts at the Supreme Court in a private ceremony later in the day, in plenty of time for him to appear with President Bush at the State of the Union speech Tuesday evening.

Alito will be ceremonially sworn in a second time at a White House East Room appearance on Wednesday.

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