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 ManchinJoe ManchinManchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Enhanced infrastructure plan is the best way to go 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Barrett, considered by many political observers to be President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE's top choice to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSupreme Court low on political standing To infinity and beyond: What will it take to create a diverse and representative judiciary? Justice Ginsburg's parting gift? MORE, has come under fire from many on the left for her conservative views.

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko Hirono11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill Dems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Senate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' 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 KavanaughGraham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh MORE.

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