The Republican led US Senate is poised, on 7 April, to confirm the nomination of conservative appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court, giving Donald Trump his first major victory since taking office.

The GOP have a 52-48 Senate majority and all of them support Gorsuch, as do a handful of Democrats with a vote expected this afternoon.

The confirmation of Gorsuch, 49, to the Supreme Court would restore the nine-seat court's 5-4 conservative majority, with Trump leaving his mark on the highest court in the land for years to come.

Gorsuch could end up serving for decades and Trump may gain more influence on the court – which has three of the current justices aged 78 and over.

The expected confirmation would give a boost to Trump. The Republican-led Congress failed to pass legislation he backed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act – the healthcare law that was Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement. Courts have also blocked Trump's order to stop people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

His administration has also faced questions about any role his associates may have played in Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election to help Trump.

Republicans on 6 April overcame a ferocious Democratic effort to prevent a vote by resorting to a Senate rule change known as the 'nuclear option'.

They disposed of long-standing rules to prohibit a procedural tactic called a filibuster against Supreme Court nominees.

That came after Republicans failed by a 55-45 vote to muster the 60-member super-majority needed to end the Democratic filibuster that had sought to deny Gorsuch confirmation to the lifetime post.

The court has held a vacancy ever since the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016.