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Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, seen as one Democrat who could vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s eventual Supreme Court nominee, blasted people targeting one of the finalists for her Catholic faith.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning, Manchin pushed back against lawmakers and the media who believe the Christian beliefs of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, said to be atop the president’s shortlist to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, should disqualify her.
After co-host Steve Doocy said he believed that the president’s eventual nominee will be approved on a mostly party-line vote, he said that Barrett’s Catholicism had become a major issue for many in the Washington media. But Doocy also noted that some Democrats have also questioned her faith.
“I have heard some of your colleagues in the Senate query her about her religion,” Doocy said, which occurred during her confirmation hearings for the U.S. Court of Appeals.
“Should a person’s religion disqualify them from a job on the Supreme Court because it sounds like some people on your side think that it should,” Doocy explained.
“Well, I guess whatever side you’re on they can pick whatever they want to pick,” Manchin said.
“I’m Catholic, okay? And religion should not enter into it. It sure doesn’t with me,” Manchin, who has publicly said he does not support filling Ginsburg’s vacancy ahead of the Nov. 3 election, continued.
“Does anything about her Catholic background bother you, senator?” Doocy interjected.
“Not at all,” Manchin responded.
During her confirmation hearing in 2017, she engaged in a testy exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who appeared to question Barrett’s religious beliefs.
“The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that people have fought for years in this country,” Feinstein said, perhaps a reference to Barrett’s traditional Catholic views on abortion.
“It’s never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they arise from faith or anywhere else, on the law,” Barrett, who clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia and taught law for two decades at her alma mater, Notre Dame, shot back.
“We are who we are, how we were raised, where we were raised, and who raised us,” Manchin said. “With that being…the freedom of religion is one of the basic rights we all have as American citizens.
“So, with that being said, 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, you worship how you want. You worship the same God. All of us do,” he added.
“It’s awful to bring in religion, it truly is,” he continued, recalling a story about President John F. Kennedy in his youth.
“I remember in 1960 — I was a little kid at that time — but I remember everyone said, ‘Well, if John Kennedy gets elected, the pope’s gonna run the country.’ And I looked at my mom and I said, ‘Mom, they don’t know the Catholics we know,’” Manchin said.
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