Britt Grant, Georgia Supreme Court justice, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing to be U.S. Circuit judge for the Eleventh Circuit, on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Pushing past a strong partisan divide on the nomination, the U.S. Senate voted 52-46 Tuesday to confirm Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt Grant to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Georgia’s U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, both Republicans, immediately applauded the decision.

“Throughout her legal career, whether it was practicing as an attorney or serving as a judge, Britt Grant was always at the top of her class,” Isakson said in a news release that tracked his remarks on the Senate floor Monday. “Justice Grant is an outstanding jurist and has served our state with distinction and integrity in roles on the Georgia Supreme Court and as solicitor general in the Georgia attorney general’s office.”

“Justice Grant is immensely qualified, and there’s no doubt in my mind that she will do a fantastic job serving the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,” Perdue said in a joint release with Isakson, also reflecting his remarks to the Senate Monday. “Throughout her career, Justice Grant has established a long record of defending and upholding the Constitution. Our country needs more judges like Justice Grant, and President Trump made an excellent choice in selecting her for this position.”

The cloture motion to end debate passed 52-44 Monday evening, reflecting the partisan divide.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the senators that Grant is a judge who will “interpret the law rather than make it.” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said she was just the opposite, calling her a “nakedly partisan judge.”

The biggest criticism of Grant from Democrats was the glowing letter of recommendation written for her by her friend and former boss, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is pending and heading for controversy, based on the debate Monday. Schumer slammed both Grant and Kavanaugh—as well as other President Donald Trump nominees—for their endorsement by the conservative Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

Schumer cited Grant’s one-year role as Georgia’s solicitor general in pointing to what he called extreme positions against voting rights, abortion and single-sex marriage, then linked it all to Kavanaugh. Schumer followed up on Twitter later Monday evening, quoting himself from the Senate floor: “Judge Kavanaugh’s ringing endorsement of Britt Grant’s record may serve as a window into his own judicial philosophy. It makes you wonder: what, exactly, does Judge Kavanaugh agree with her on?”

Schumer also tweeted a photo of Grant, calling her an “extreme nominee” who “fought against reproductive freedom, civil rights, and more.”

The Senate continued considering Grant’s nomination in executive session Tuesday morning. During that time, Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota took the floor to say that Kavanaugh’s nomination has been engulfed in Democratic “hysteria” that has nothing to do with him—or presumably, Grant by association. Thune noted one Democratic senator released his opposition to the president’s Supreme Court choice before the name was announced.

The vote came after the senators returned from lunch in the afternoon.

Back in Atlanta, Attorney General Chris Carr quickly gave the confirmation his endorsement.

“Before Britt Grant began serving as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Law had the distinct honor of calling her one of our own,” Carr said in a news release Tuesday afternoon. “During her time as solicitor general, I got to know Britt and her dedication to the rule of law and to serving others. She has a deeply rooted respect for the U.S. Constitution and the constitution and laws of the state of Georgia, and I am confident she will continue to faithfully interpret and apply the law as written and will represent Georgians and the American people well.

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