Supreme Court (U.S.)

Watch: Donald Trump picks his Supreme Court nominee

President Donald Trump selected Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to the Supreme Court on Tuesday night as a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia.

He made the announcement from the White House shortly after 8 p.m. ET.

Trump had repeatedly promised a conservative judge to replace the late Antonin Scalia. He had reportedly narrowed his search to two candidates. Judge Gorsuch, 49, presides over the 10th Circuit in Colorado.

This pick, along with other potential choices Trump will have during his time in office, could help to shape the ideological makeup of the nation's top court for years to come.

Currently, eight justices sit on the court, and Trump's pick will help to tip its balance. Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito form the more conservative wing, while Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer fill out the traditionally more liberal wing. Anthony Kennedy is considered a moderate and swing vote.

Then-President Barack Obama picked Merrick Garland, a Washington appeals court judge, to fill the seat last year, but the Republican-controlled Congress never held a vote on the nomination. The stalemate caused frustration for Obama in his final year in office.

Trump's pick of Gorsuch and the freshness of Garland's nomination sets up another possible partisan battle over the court for the second straight year. One Senate Democrat, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, has already threatened to filibuster Trump's nominee, calling the judgeship a "stolen seat."

That would mean Republicans would need 60 votes to confirm the justice. The party holds 52 seats.

The White House has already gone on the offensive about potential efforts to block the nomination. Spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday that "the default is if you're qualified for the position, then you should be confirmed."

Some Democrats may call foul on that characterization due to Garland's nomination.