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Federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch won confirmation to serve as attorney general Thursday from a Senate that forced her to wait more than five months for the title and remained divided to the end.
The 56-43 vote installs Lynch, 55, now U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, as the first black woman in the nation’s top law enforcement post. She will replace Eric Holder, a perennial lightning rod for conservatives who was once held in contempt of Congress.
The vote total for Lynch was the lowest for any attorney general since Michael Mukasey won confirmation with 53 votes in 2007 after Democrats decried his refusal to describe waterboarding as torture.