WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. Senate confirmed Eric Holder as attorney general Monday, voting 75-21 to place him in charge of the Department of Justice.
Holder, 58, is a former federal prosecutor and served as deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration. His confirmation makes him the first African-American confirmed to the post, though he held the job on an acting basis in early 2001.
Monday's vote leaves him set to take over a Justice Department battered by a series of controversies during the Bush administration, from questions about how it laid legal groundwork for harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists to the sackings of top federal prosecutors in several cities.
"There's a big job to do, and it's going to be Mr. Holder's duty to turn this department around and restore its credibility," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California.
During confirmation hearings, Republicans questioned his role in former President Bill Clinton's widely criticized last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich and questioned whether he would be independent of the White House.
Updated: 6:44 p.m.