01/31/2006 AT 02:00 PM EST
Samuel Alito became the newest Supreme Court justice of the United States on Tuesday after being confirmed by the Senate in a 58-42 vote.
Following the confirmation, he was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court building across from the U.S. Capitol at about 12:40 p.m. ET, according to court officials.
Alito's victory was one of the most partisan in modern history. All but one of the Senate's Republicans voted for his confirmation, while all but four Democrats voted against the 55-year-old jurist. That is the smallest number of senators in the President's opposing party to support a Supreme Court justice in recent history, reports the Associated Press. Chief Justice Roberts received 22 Democratic votes last year, and Justice Clarence Thomas – who was confirmed in 1991 on a 52-48 vote – earned 11 Democratic votes.
Alito's swearing-in ceremony was attended by his wife, Martha-Ann Bomgardner – who broke down in tears during her husband's Senate confirmation hearings earlier this month – as well other members of the court and their spouses. The new Supreme Court justice took both the constitutional and judicial oaths so that he can immediately participate in court decisions.
Alito, a former federal appellate judge, U.S. attorney, and conservative lawyer for the Reagan administration, is the 110th Supreme Court justice. He replaces Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a moderate swing vote on the court.
A native of Trenton, N.J., Alito is the son of an Italian immigrant father who worked for the state's legislature and a mother who was a school principal. He attended Princeton University as an undergraduate and Yale Law School.