Steven Menashi
PHOTO: From George Mason University
Steven Menashi
(CNN) —  

The Senate has confirmed controversial judicial nominee Steven Menashi, a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office, to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 51-41.

Menashi had faced criticism for some of his early writings as a student at Dartmouth and elsewhere.

At his confirmation hearing, Menashi told senators that he regretted the “lack of balance and provocative tone” in some of his writings.

Some Republicans on the committee, including Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, also initially expressed concerns about the fact that Menashi failed to explain in general his portfolio while serving in the White House counsel’s office.

Menashi faced sharp opposition from the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California, who pressed on the fact that he worked with Trump adviser Stephen Miller on immigration issues in the White House but would not answer questions if he was involved in the events surrounding the President’s call to the Ukraine. She stressed that the committee was only seeking broad outlines of his work portfolio, not a detailed account of private deliberations.

Before serving in the White House, Menashi worked as acting general counsel at the Department of Education. He also served as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis law firm and as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and attended Stanford Law School.

CNN’s Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.