WASHINGTON - Judge Sonia Sotomayor became the first Hispanic confirmed by the Senate for the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday.

The Democratic-led Senate voted largely along party lines, 68-31, to approve President Barack Obama's choice of Sotomayor for the lifetime job.

When sworn in, the 55-year-old federal appeals judge will be the Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the highest U.S. court.

Senators from Obama's Democratic party hailed Sotomayor as fair-minded but Republicans had charged she lacked impartiality.

Another barrier has been broken in American life, said Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent who voted for Sotomayor, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who was born in poverty.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; editing by Howard Goller)