WASHINGTON (CBS) -- The United States Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins' nomination to be the next U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. Rollins will be the first Black woman to hold the position.
Rollins was confirmed by a vote of 51-50 along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
Her nomination moved forward from the Senate Judiciary Committee following a tied vote in September - the first time there's been a roll call vote in the committee for a U.S. Attorney in 30 years.
President Joe Biden nominated Rollins for the job in July. But Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who described Rollins as a "pro-criminal radical," slowed down the confirmation process in order to convince his Republican colleagues to oppose the nomination.
Massachusetts senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren both backed Rollins' nomination.
"Rollins has demonstrated that progressive policies can be effective in cutting serious crime, which seems to frustrate her opponents," Warren said on the Senate floor. "It is no surprise that some right-wing voices have sought to make an issue out of Rollins' nomination."
Rollins was elected as district attorney in 2018 after promising to not prosecute some low-level crimes. She said she wanted to focus on serious crimes instead of ones resulting from mental health or addiction problems.
Gov. Charlie Baker will appoint a successor to fill the remainder of Rollins' term as district attorney if she is confirmed.
Rollins released the following statement after her confirmation:
"I'm deeply honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve my community, my Commonwealth and my country as the next United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. Every policy and initiative that I have put in place as Suffolk County District Attorney has been designed to improve the safety and wellbeing of the communities I serve, to improve the public's trust in law enforcement and our courts and to improve the fairness and equity of the criminal legal system. I'm incredibly proud of the work every member of my office has done to achieve these goals, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to lead an office of such dedicated, compassionate and talented professionals. I look forward to bringing these data-driven, evidenced-based approaches and a heightened emphasis on culturally competent, trauma-informed victim services to the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts."
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