Holder Confirmed As Attorney General On 75-21 Vote

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Eric Holder

WASHINGTON (CBS News) -Attorney General nominee Eric Holder testifies during his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Jan. 15, 2009, in Washington, D.C.

The Senate has voted 75-21 to confirm Eric Holder as the first African-American attorney general.

Holder also is the only African-American currently in President Barack Obama's Cabinet. He had strong bipartisan support in Monday's vote.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, called the vote historic. He noted that Holder's confirmation hearing was held while American was celebrating the 80th birthday Martin Luther King Jr.

Leahy said the confirmation would take the nation up the path that King wanted, where people are judged by the content of their character.

A small group of Republicans said they opposed Holder. They argued he was hostile to gun control and not fully supportive of the war on terrorism.

The debate over Holder's confirmation quickly turned partisan when his chief supporter denounced Republicans who sought a pledge not to prosecute intelligence agents who participated in harsh interrogations.

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