Donald Trump last night set fire to the starting gun on an election-defining battle to install his nominee for the Supreme Court before America goes to the polls on November 3.
Republicans in the Senate indicated they would try to make the confirmation of his nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, one of the quickest in modern history, holding hearings in the week of Oct 12, and a full vote by Oct 29.
The Senate has never before confirmed a Supreme Court justice beyond July in an election year.
Supporters of Mr Trump said they expected the confirmation fight to be “jet fuel for our base.
Democrats accused Republicans of being “hell-bent” on getting there without due process.
At a rally in Virginia, Mr Trump said it would be a “great victory”.
He added: “We have tremendous unity in the party. They say the biggest thing you can do (as president) is the appointment of judges, but especially the appointment of Supreme Court justices. It sets the tone of the country for 40 years, 50 years.”