WASHINGTON — Voting largely along party lines, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the 111th justice of the Supreme Court. She will be the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the court.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was expected to administer the oath of office to Judge Sotomayor, 55, in the next few days, with a formal ceremony likely in September. She succeeds Justice David H. Souter, who retired in June.
Democrats celebrated the successful nomination and relatively smooth confirmation process as a bright spot in a summer when they have been buffeted by several challenges, including rocky progress on their attempts to overhaul the nation’s health care system, President Obama’s falling approval ratings, the climbing unemployment rate and other lingering economic problems.
Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation was never in much doubt, given Democrats’ numerical advantage in the Senate. But the final vote — 68 to 31 — represented a partisan divide. No Democrat voted against her, while all but 9 of the chamber’s 40 Republicans did so. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, is ailing and did not vote.
This is a political win for Obama, and I’m sure they’ll spin it as such.