A closely divided U.S. Senate confirmed Republican Senator Jeff Sessions as the next attorney general, sweeping aside strong opposition among Democrats over his record on civil rights and immigration.
Sessions, 70, was confirmed by a 52-47 vote largely along party lines.
Sessions takes a hard line against immigration and he collaborated with President Donald Trump in formulating the administration's immigration policy.
He will now lead the Justice Department in defending Trump's controversial executive order curbing immigration against multiple court challenges.
A San Francisco appeals court is expected to rule this week on whether to continue blocking the January 27 executive order, which temporarily bans all refugees while also barring visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries -- Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, and Syria.
The Senate battle over Sessions' nomination was marked by a rare censure of a leading Democrat -- Senator Elizabeth Warren. The liberal senator was silenced after reading a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., that criticized Sessions for his civil rights record.
The rebuke of Warren set off a storm of criticism on social media.
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