The Senate voted Wednesday night to confirm Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden administration should resist 'slush-fund' settlements Garland should oppose Biden effort to reinstate controversial 'slush funds' practice 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 ManchinJoe ManchinClose the avenues of foreign meddling Democrats see political winner in tax fight MSNBC's Joy Reid pans Manchin, Sinema as the 'no progress caucus' 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 DonnellyEverybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big MORE (Ind.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices Biden under pressure to spell out Cuba policy Senators to Biden: 'We must confront the reality' on Iran nuclear program MORE (N.J.) — went over and shook Sessions's hand after the vote. Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Appeals court agrees to pause lawsuit over Trump-era emissions rule Five things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan 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 WarrenOn The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House 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 McConnellHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Democrats see opportunity in GOP feud with business Biden resists calls to give hard-hit states more vaccines than others 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 DurbinDick DurbinLawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Number of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports Grassley, Cornyn push for Senate border hearing 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 HatchPress: Forget bipartisanship — it's dead! Privatization of foster care has been a disaster for children Remembering Ted Kennedy highlights decline of the Senate 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 FeinsteinCaitlyn Jenner exploring bid for California governor: report WokeWorld comes for 'oppressor' Obama: Activists rip school being named after 'deporter in chief' Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision 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.