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Manchin defends Supreme Court candidate Barrett: 'It's awful to bring in religion'

Manchin defends Supreme Court candidate Barrett: 'It's awful to bring in religion'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  Susan Collins and the American legacy MORE (D-W.Va.) defended Supreme Court candidate Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday, telling Fox News that bringing her religious beliefs into any debate is "awful."

"I'm Catholic, OK? And religion should not enter into it. It sure doesn't with me," Manchin told "Fox & Friends."

"It's awful to bring in religion. It truly is," added Manchin, who has said he does not support filling a Supreme Court vacancy before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

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Barrett, considered by many political observers to be President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE's top choice to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgHow recent Supreme Court rulings will impact three battleground states The false promise and real danger of Barrett's originalism Girl Scouts spark backlash from left after congratulating Justice Amy Coney Barrett MORE, has come under fire from many on the left for her conservative views.

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoOvernight Defense: Dems want hearing on DOD role on coronavirus vaccine | US and India sign data-sharing pact | American citizen kidnapped in Niger Senate Democrats want hearing on Pentagon vaccine effort FCC reaffirms order rolling back net neutrality regulations MORE (D-Hawaii) said Tuesday that Barrett's religious beliefs are fair game if they inform her decisions.

"Look, it wasn't her religious views — it's anybody's views that they bring to their decisionmaking," said Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "So they keep telling us that none of the things they wrote or said yesterday should infringe on their decision, but how can we be assured that they can be objective?"

Manchin said Wednesday that Barrett's Catholic background is irrelevant.

"Whether you're Catholic, whether you're Protestant, whether you're Jewish, evangelical, whatever it may be, God bless you. You worship who you want and you worship how you want. You worship the same God. All of us do," he said.

Barrett, who once clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was nominated by Trump to serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. She was confirmed in a 55-43 vote by the Senate later that year, with support from three Democratic senators, including Manchin.

Barrett was a favorite among conservatives a year later when Trump was considering the successor to former Justice Anthony Kennedy. He ultimately chose now-Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughVermont secretary of State says Kavanaugh's correction still unsatisfactory Kavanaugh corrects opinion in voting case following Vermont official's objection The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states MORE.

Trump has said he has a shortlist of five women and that he will announce his pick on Saturday at 5 p.m.