Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee could be in place this week
Donald Trump's nomination for the Supreme Court could be in place by the end of this week if he survives a tough grilling by the Senate.
Democrats are expected to question the conservative candidate on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, transgender bathrooms and Trump's controversial travel ban.
Although Gorsuch is well respected and will have the support of all 52 Republican senators, he needs to win support from eight Democrats to be appointed.
Bad blood hangs over the process after Republicans blocked Barack Obama's nominee, leaving one place empty on the nine seat panel.
If successful Gorsuch would fill the vacancy left by renowned conservative Justice Antonin Scalia's death last year.
A Colorado appeals court judge, Gorsuch would tilt the influential court's lean back to a conservative 5-4 bias.
The 49-year-old has shown a strong conservative track record with a particular dispensations towards religious liberty rights.
In two landmark cases, Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius and Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell, Gorsuch ruled that the employers and organisations were allowed exemptions from Obama's Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate on the grounds it violated their religious beliefs.
But Democrats also accuse him of ruling in favour of business interests.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said last week: 'Judge Gorsuch may act like a neutral, calm judge but his record and his career clearly show he harbours a right-wing, pro-corporate special interest legal agenda.'
It is unclear whether Democrats will actually block his appointment with their options limited and Republicans threatening to change the rules to allow Gorsuch a safer passage.
But his nomination has drawn widespread praise from conservative Christians.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, hailed Gorsuch as an 'exceptional choic'.
In a statement he said: 'I heartily support President Trump's excellent appointment. I look forward to Judge Gorsuch's voice on the Court for decades to come and pray that he will be an articulate and stalwart advocate for religious liberty and human dignity at all its stages.'
Christian author and Kairos Company CEO Johnnie Moore went further and praised Trump for not only fulfilling 'his most important promise to the evangelical community in this selection, he has gone over and above by repeatedly doubling down on those issues most important to the community during his first 10 days as president.'
Moore added: 'His endorsement of, and the administration's participation in the March for Life, coupled with his prompt attention to the Mexico City ruling were precursors to tonight's very good news.
'Should this nominee be confirmed, Scalia's legacy will live on for at least another generation. Evangelicals are ecstatic.'