Black religious leaders defended Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she was criticized for her Catholic faith following reports that she could be the President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

According to sources quoted on Friday, Sept. 25, by several media, President Trump is said to have selected Barrett to take the place left vacant on the U.S. Supreme Court after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The president’s decision awakened criticism from liberal sectors by questioning the place that faith would occupy in the decisions that Barrett could make as a member of the court. Clergymen, academics, and pastors from the black community came to the judge’s defense.

“The attacks on her Christian beliefs and her membership in a charismatic Christian community reflect rank religious bigotry that has no legitimate place in our political debates or public life,” the letter signed by Catholic, Christian, and black Pentecostal leaders states.

In fact, attacks on Barrett for her faith began three years ago, when President Trump first nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a position she currently holds.

At Barrett’s confirmation hearings in 2017, members of the Democratic Party, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), suggested that her belief in Catholicism made her unfit to serve as a judge.

The black religious leaders who signed the letter titled “A Black Defense of Freedom of Conscience and Amy Coney Barrett” on Sept. 25 said, “We condemn these vile attacks—which began three years ago during the process of her confirmation for the judicial post she currently holds.”

“As the descendants of slaves we are particularly sensitive to acts of discrimination and we demand an end to this reprehensible conduct,” they said in the text published by the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, an institution dedicated to the education and training of black church leaders.

If the nomination is confirmed and if it is approved by the Senate, Barrett will become the third Supreme Court justice nominated by the Trump administration, joining the appointments of Neil Gorsuch (2017) and Brett Kavanaugh (2018).

Under this new scenario, the highest U.S. court would have a conservative majority of 6-3.

During a rally in Virginia on Friday night, President Trump said his rival, Democratic candidate Joe Biden, if elected, would fill the Supreme Court with extremists.

“They say the biggest thing you can do is the appointment of judges, but especially the appointment of Supreme Court justices. That’s the single biggest thing a president can do because it sets the tone of the country for 40 years, 50 years—I mean a long time,” President Trump said on the subject at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.

“If given the power, the radical left will pack the Supreme Court with extremists who will strike the words ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance,” he said.

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