The Senate voted 58 to 42 to confirm Samuel Alito as the 110th Supreme Court justice.
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.
Alito’s confirmation sets a new benchmark for the entire process. Expect future confirmations to be even more nasty than this one was. For now though, we can appreciate this victory, for George W. Bush, and for America.
UPDATE: Alito sworn in.