Senate Democrats have signalled they will fight Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the US Supreme Court, after Republicans refused to consider his predecessor's nominee to the bench.

US Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (L) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R) on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, February 1, 2017.
US Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (L) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R) on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, February 1, 2017.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Senate Republicans to "go nuclear" and impose a rule change to force through, if necessary, confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, his nominee for the Supreme Court.

Trump's fellow Republicans control the Senate 52-48. Democrats signalled on Wednesday they would set up a procedural hurdle, known as a filibuster, requiring 60 votes, rather than a simple majority, to confirm Gorsuch.

The president urged Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to change long-standing Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, a move dubbed the "nuclear option," if Democrats block Gorsuch.

Democrats are furious over McConnell's refusal last year to let the Senate hold confirmation hearings or a vote on Democratic President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia.

Gorsuch is a federal appeals court judge from Colorado, who is seen as a conservative intellectual.

On Wednesday he began holding private meetings with senators, starting with McConnell, to drum up support for his nomination a day after Trump picked the 49-year-old for a lifetime job on the country's top court.

TRT World's Tetiana Anderson looks at the fight ahead.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies