Donald Trump's former press secretary has attacked Democrats for criticising the president's reported favourite Supreme Court replacement, Amy Coney Barett, suggesting they should instead praise the pro-life lawyer for "empowering women".
"If liberals actually cared about empowering women, they’d be applauding Judge Amy Coney Barrett - a working mom with impeccable legal credentials - not denigrating her with bigoted attacks on her Christian faith," Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a tweet, following reports Ms Barrett is set to replace Ginsburg.
Senior Republicans on Friday night told CNN the president intends to choose Ms Barrett, a 48-year-old conservative judge on Chicago’s 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, to replace Ginsburg, who died last Friday aged 87.
Democrats have criticised the move, suggesting that Ms Barrett's strong Roman Catholic faith could influence her decisions in the Supreme Court, with its rulings crucial to some of the most important and fiercely contested issues in US law, including reproductive rights. Some Democrats have branded Ms Barrett an "extremist".
Quoting multiple GOP sources with knowledge of the Supreme Court replacement process, the CNN report stated the White House is indicating to allies on Capitol Hill that Ms Barrett’s intended selection will be announced on Saturday.
“The machinery is in motion,” one of the sources told the outlet, while cautioning that, until Ms Barrett is announced, the president could always make a last-minute change.
Mr Trump told supporters at a campaign rally on Friday that he was moving forward with a SCOTUS announcement tomorrow. “The Democrats don’t think we should do it," he said. "Put them in our shoes … They would be working over the weekend. They have been not good to deal with.”
Despite the reports, Mr Trump has remained tight-lipped on who he will nomiate to replace Ginsburg, a liberal icon and staunch defender of women's rights. "Is that what they're telling you?" he told reporters Friday night.
"You'll find out tomorrow," he added. "Look, they're all great. It could be any one of them. It could be actually anyone on the list".
If liberals actually cared about empowering women, they’d be applauding Judge Amy Coney Barrett - a working mom with impeccable legal credentials - not denigrating her with bigoted attacks on her Christian faith.
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) September 25, 2020
Other names in the hat to replace Ginsburg had included attorneys Barbara Lagoa (Atlanta), and Kate Comerford Todd (deputy White House counsel).
A Catholic mother-of seven, Ms Barrett is a former professor at the Notre Dame Law School. She was a finalist to replace retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018, a spot that ultimately went to Brett Kavanaugh.
At her confirmation hearing to the appellate court, Dianne Feinstein said that her Catholic “dogma” lives loudly within her. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that people have fought for for years in this country,” Ms Feinstein said.
Ex-senator Joe Lieberman on Friday night broke ranks with his former colleagues, warning that repeated attacks on Ms Barrett's faith could end up hurting the party in the long-run.
"You can disagree with somebody based on whether they're pro-life or pro-choice," Mr Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, told Fox News.
"But when you start to say that you're against them because their religion, in this case, their Roman Catholicism determines their point of view," he added, "you're doing something really abhorrent that I think is bigoted, is un-American, and incidentally, is unconstitutional."