WASHINGTON -- Sonia Sotomayor will be sworn in on Saturday as a Supreme Court justice, following today's 68-31 vote by the Senate to confirm her.
Democrats in the Senate praised her as a mainstream moderate with extraordinary qualifications. And they said her elevation to the court is a milestone in the nation's journey toward greater equality.
But Republicans argued she'd bring personal bias and a liberal agenda to the bench.
Senators took the rare step of assembling at their desks for the vote, rising from their seats to call out "aye" or "nay."
The longest-serving senator, 91-year-old Robert Byrd of West Virginia, was brought in in a wheelchair to vote for Sotomayor. The only senator who was absent was Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, who's suffering from brain cancer.
As for Sotomayor, she watched the vote on television in a conference room at a federal courthouse in New York. The vote met with applause from her friends and colleagues.
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