The United States has a new attorney general.
The Senate confirmed Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general Thursday night, approving him despite Democratic criticism that he had failed to take an unequivocal stance against the torture of terrorism detainees.
The 53-to-40 vote made Mr. Mukasey, a former federal judge, the third person to head the Justice Department during the tenure of President Bush, placing him in charge of an agency that members of both parties say suffered under the leadership of Alberto R. Gonzales.
Six Democrats joined 46 Republicans and one independent in approving the judge, with his backers praising him as a strong choice to restore morale at the Justice Department and independently oversee federal prosecutions in the final months of the Bush administration.
The majority of Democrats voted not to approve Mukasey because he wavered when asked if the practice of waterboarding constituted illegal torture during his confirmation hearing.