WASHINGTON — Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. was sworn in as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice today after being confirmed by the Senate in one of the most partisan victories in modern history.
Alito was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court building across from the Capitol about 12:40 p.m. EST, court officials said.
In a fierce battle over the future 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.
After the vote, President
George W. Bush lauded Alito as "a man of deep character and integrity, and he will make all Americans proud as a justice on our highest court."
Alito watched the final vote from the White House's Roosevelt Room with his
family. He will appear with Bush at the State of the Union speech this evening. Alito will be ceremonially sworn in
a second time at a White House East Room appearance tomorrow.