Alito Confirmed to Supreme Court, 58-42

The United States Senate has confirmed Samuel Alito as the newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing the retiring Sandra Day O’Connor. The vote was 58-42, largely along party lines.

The Senate confirmed Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court on Tuesday by a vote of 58-42, a day after an attempt by some Democratic senators to block his nomination fizzled.

Alito, who will be the court’s 110th justice, will be sworn into office across the street from the Capitol at the Supreme Court, just hours before President Bush’s State of the Union address. He will then join Chief Justice John Roberts in the House chamber for the speech. Judge Alito will be ceremonially sworn into office Wednesday in the East Room of the White House.

Alito watched the Senate vote from the Roosevelt Room of the White House with his wife, Martha-Ann Bomgardner.

Alito’s supporters in the Senate, as expected, cleared the final roadblock Monday when senators, by a vote of 72-25, decided to cut off debate and proceed to a final vote, rebuffing an attempt by a cadre of liberal senators to talk the nomination to death.

This has been an unnecessarily long process, mostly owing to poor leadership from Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, who unwisely allowed the minority to postpone hearings for months and then let it drag on at a snail’s pace. This still paled compared to the nonsense Clarence Thomas had to endure.

Update: It’s official–Alito has been sworn in and O’Connor can stay in Arizona.

Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. became the nation’s 110th Supreme Court justice on Tuesday, confirmed with one of the most partisan victories in modern history after a fierce battle over the future direction of the high court. Alito was sworn in shortly after the vote.

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.

President Bush and Alito watched the vote together in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Bush shook Alito’s hand and aides erupted in a long round of applause when final approval came. 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 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.

With the confirmation vote, O’Connor’s resignation became official. She resigned in July but agreed to remain until her successor was confirmed. She was in Arizona this week teaching a class at the University of Arizona law school.

Of course Thomas got more Democratic votes–they were the majority.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark Jaquith says:

    Not even close to a fillibuster (72-25 is what I’m reading for the vote to go to the floor). Do Democrats come out this looking sane or weak? Maybe a bit of each.

  2. Jony says:

    Well, the main nonsense is that we have a new judge who, by the President’s estimation, is not the most qualified jurist in the nation.

  3. G A PHILLIPS says:

    Only four more to go. Hehehaha.

  4. Herb says:

    Well, to all of you Democrat Obstructionists,

    Roe will fall, just like your attempted Fillibuster and Confirmation vote, like you really care.