The Senate voted Wednesday night to confirm Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsCurtis wins Chaffetz's former Utah House seat Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny FBI can’t unlock Texas shooter’s phone MORE (R-Ala.) as attorney general, capping a vicious debate that left Democrats and Republicans alike seething at times.

No Republicans went against Sessions in the 52-47 vote. Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDems mull big changes after Brazile bombshell A bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Collins, Manchin to serve as No Labels co-chairs MORE (D-W.Va.) was the only Democrat to back Sessions.

While Republicans broke out into applause after the vote closed, Democrats largely stood silently. A handful of Democratic senators — including Manchin, Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyNo room for amnesty in our government spending bill Senate confirms Larsen to federal appeals court Senate confirms controversial Trump nominee to appeals court MORE (Ind.) and Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezIn judge's 2010 Senate trial, Menendez was guilty of hypocrisy Excused Menendez juror: 'I don't think he did anything wrong' We don't need a terrorist attack to know diversity program has to go MORE (N.J.) — went over and shook Sessions's hand after the vote. Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate confirms top air regulator at EPA Senate panel delays vote on Trump’s Homeland Security pick Overnight Energy: Senators grill Trump environmental pick | EPA air nominee heads to Senate floor | Feds subpoena ex-Trump adviser over biofuels push MORE (D-Del.), who didn't support Sessions, hugged him on the Senate floor. 

The fight over Sessions escalated this week, when Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program Schumer: Dems want DACA fix in government spending bill The Hill interview — DNC chief: I came here to win elections MORE (D-Mass.) read a letter that Coretta Scott King had written in 1986 that accused Sessions, a U.S. attorney at the time nominated for a federal judgeship, of using the power of his office to prevent blacks from voting. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell expects Paul to return to Senate next week Former Hill staff calls for mandatory harassment training Gaming the odds of any GOP tax bill getting signed into law MORE (R-Ky.) objected to Warren’s speech, saying she had impugned another member of the Senate. In a 49-43 vote, the Senate agreed, preventing Warren from speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday. 

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Democrats accused McConnell of sexism for silencing a woman on the floor, and Warren went on a media blitz against the Republican senators and Sessions. 

The tensions were on full display during the debate over Sessions’s nomination.

“We all know our colleague from Alabama. He’s honest," McConnell said. “He’s fair. He’s been a friend to many of us, on both sides of the aisle.” 

Democrats defended their criticism of Sessions’s record on issues of race and civil rights. 

“When we make a big issue of the position of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions on the Voting Rights Act, it's with good cause. It is historically an issue which has haunted the United States since the Civil War,” Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDems mull big changes after Brazile bombshell After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Bipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program MORE (Ill.) — the No. 2 Senate Democrat — said ahead of the vote. 

Republicans decried the Democratic tactics, arguing they were going to new lows to smear Sessions.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchRead Senate GOP's tax bill Senate panel to start tax bill markup on Monday Senate set for clash with House on tax bill MORE (R-Utah) — a long-serving Senate traditionalist — said Democrats are treating Sessions like a “terrible person,” urging his colleagues on Tuesday night to think of Sessions’s wife.

The fiery words in the last days of the debate over Sessions were somewhat surprising.

While the issue of race had always hung over the debate, Sessions is well-liked personally by many senators. That made the stinging words all the more noteworthy — and raises questions about the ability of lawmakers to work together going forward.   

Sessions will now take over the Justice Department’s defense of President Trump’s controversial order barring people from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States. A former aide to Sessions was instrumental in the order’s writing, and Democrats argued the Alabama senator would not be a firm defender of an independent Justice Department.

“Senator Sessions is not a man apart from this agenda. He is not independent of [Trump's] agenda,” said Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenators push mandatory sexual harassment training for members, staff Bipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

Sessions only needed 50 votes to be confirmed. 

Democrats changed the filibuster rules for presidential nominations when they held the Senate majority, eliminating the need for 60-vote majorities on procedural votes held for Cabinet and some judicial nominations.