The vote on Monday was 64 to 27.

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, used the debate period over Lewis's confirmation to criticize Republicans for recently reportedly invoking a blockade of upcoming judicial nominees commonly referred to as the "Thurmond Rule."

"I have yet to hear any good reason why we should not continue to vote on well-qualified, consensus nominees, just as we did up until September of the last two presidential election years," Leahy said. "I have yet to hear a good explanation as to why we cannot work to solve the problem of high vacancies for the American people.  I will continue to work with the Senate leadership to try to confirm as many of President Obama’s qualified judicial nominees as possible to fill the many judicial vacancies that burden our courts and the American people across the country."

Leahy said he hoped Senate Republicans would oppose a filibuster of upcoming judicial nominees, such as Lewis.

"I would hope that the Senators from South Carolina, whose state’s nominee we consider today, will aid this effort just as we have worked with them throughout the process to ensure that they were consulted by the President and that they consented to proceeding with this nominee from their home state," Leahy said. "I hope that they will show that courtesy to other Senators."