Alito confirmed as US Supreme Court justice

Samuel Alito has been approved as the United States’ 110th Supreme Court justice, securing victory in the most partisan vote in the nation’s modern history.

The US Senate voted 58-42 to confirm Alito as the replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Only one of the Senate’s majority Republicans voted against Alito’s confirmation, while just four Democrats voted for him. The two parties have been at loggerheads over the future direction of the nation’s high court.

US media reported it to be the smallest number of senators in a president’s opposing party to support a Supreme Court justice in recent times.

The next closest partisan votes were Chief Justice John Roberts, who received 22 Democratic votes in 2005, while Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed in 1991 with 11 Democrat votes.

Alito, from New Jersey, is a former federal appellate judge, US attorney and was a lawyer in the Justice Department for the Reagan administration.

His controversial anti-abortion views saw critics launch a campaign against his nomination.