Supreme Court Justice designate Sonia Sotomayor waves as she leaves Manhattan Federal Court, Thursday, Aug. 6.
Sotomayor, 55, a longstanding appeals court judge of Puerto Rican descent, grew up in a New York City housing project and went on to attend Princeton University. She was confirmed by a 68-31 vote and now becomes the nation's third female Supreme Court justice.
"This is a wonderful day for Judge Sotomayor and her family, but I also think it is a wonderful day for America," said President Obama after the vote. Obama said Sotomayor's journey affirmed the "core American ideals of justice, equality and opportunity."
Sotomayor won the support of all Democrats and a quarter of Republicans. GOP lawmakers have been unable to thwart her confirmation based on opposition to her stance on guns and past comments about ethnicity, according to The Associated Press. Still, several Republicans voted for her, saying she was well-qualified.