Every Democrat voted for Watford except Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), who did not vote.
Throughout debate on the nominee, Democrats repeatedly praised Watford.
Leahy added that Watford is the kind of nominee that should be confirmed overwhelmingly with broad, bipartisan support.
"He has a mainstream record. He demonstrates legal excellence, experience at the top of his legal profession," Leahy said.
Unlike Leahy, Sen. Chuck Grassley said he planned to vote against Watford's confirmation.
"I'm disappointed that the majority leader has brought this nomination to the floor," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said. "My opposition to this nomination is based upon substantive concerns that I have based on Mr. Watford's views on immigration and the death penalty."
Grassley cited court cases where Watford argued against a controversial immigration law in Arizona and when Watford worked on another case "that would undermine the death penalty."
"I have other concerns this nominee has taken in his legal advocacy as well as his presentations," Grassley continued.
But Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that there was no reason to oppose Watford's nomination.
"He is not filibuster-able and I really hope that people see the fine and keen intellect that this man is and he should have a very large vote," Feinstein said. "If confirmed, he would be just one of two African-American judges on the 9th circuit."
Earlier in the day Senate Majority vitiated cloture on Watford's nomination so the chamber could hold a roll-call vote.