Sotomayor confirmed by Senate

WASHINTGON, (NBC) - The U.S. Senate Thursday voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the first Hispanic on the high court, and, with Friday as a deadline, the Senate is racing to complete other actions as well.

The Sotomayor outcome was not in doubt. The final vote looked like history in the making.

Senators standing to say yes or no. "The yeas are 68, the nays are 31," said Minnesota democratic Senator Al Franken.

With that, Sotomayor was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.

Sonia Sotomayor, 57, was raised poor in New York to parents from Puerto Rico. A brilliant student. A prosecutor. And a federal judge for 17 years.

Nominated by President Obama, Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic to sit on the Supreme Court and every democrat heaped on praise.

"Judge Sotomayor is clearly moderate, qualified, intelligent and represents that at the end of day race and ethnicity aren't supposed to predetermine anything," said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York.

Nine republicans voted yes. "Judge Sotomayor's decisions, while not always the decision that I would render are not outside the legal mainstream," said Ohio republican Senator George Voinovich.

But most republicans worry Sotomayor has a liberal bias. "We need judges who uphold the rights of all not just some," said republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Alabama's senior senator, Richard Shelby also apposed the nomination. "Because of my concerns with her willingness to properly and dutifully uphold fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution, I could not vote in favor of Judge Sotomayor's confirmation," Shelby said.

Up for continuation now that Sotomayor's fate is known, the cash for clunkers program.

So popular it's burned thru $1 billion and another $2 billion more is requested.

"This program is helping to put life back in our economy helping to save and create jobs and really getting out automotive sector moving forward again," said democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

But moving the whole nation forward is what Sonia Sotomayor's backers say her confirmation accomplished. She'll be sworn in Saturday at the Supreme Court in a televised event, another first.