Clueless Ellen Ratner Claims Alito Will Vote "Catholic Ticket"

When it comes to malign intent, Ellen Ratner will be hard-pressed ever to outdo the hope she expressed in 2003 that the Iraq war go badly in order to promote Democratic political interests.

But Ratner might well have plumbed a new personal low in religious stereotyping and sheer ignorance this morning when she explained Justice Sam Alito's recent vote to stay an execution by claiming that he votes the "Catholic ticket."

Her ill-informed allegation came in the course of "The Long & the Short of It," a regular Fox & Friends Weekend feature in which she debates conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton.

When host Julian Phillips asked Ratner whether Alito's vote surprised her, she responded:

"Not at all. Because I think he is going to vote sort of a Catholic ticket. And they are against the death penalty and also not pro-choice. And so I think he is doing what his religious convictions tell him to. I'm delighted because I'm very against the death penalty."

Ratner opens a window on the liberal mind, and the view is not a pretty one. Beyond the cliched assumptions as to how Catholics think and act [one that Dem icon JFK fought when running for President], Ratner reveals that in her mind, as is true of liberals in general, judges should rule on the basis of their personal beliefs and preferences, rather than on the law before them.

Pinkerton set Ratner straight:

"I don't agree that he's voting Catholic. I think he's voting like a judge. I think he's trying to look at the case individually on the specific merits of the law, and he may come to agreement or disagreement with conservatives or liberals as he does that. I think that's exactly what President Bush said about Alito. He's a very smart, qualified guy with a great legal background and we're hiring him to be a Supreme Court justice, not to vote a religious doctrine."

Compounding Ratner's religious stereotyping was her ignorance. For far from being a doctrinaire death penalty foe, Alito has regularly, even controversially in the eyes of some, supported capital punishment.

Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu, who testified at Dem behest at the Alito confirmation hearings, wrote a column in the LA Times specifically attacking Alito for being . . . too death-penalty friendly! Liu noted that Alito voted against the defendant in every one of the five death penalty cases that came before him in which there was a split vote on the appeals court!

It is one thing for Ratner to be a dogmatic leftist. But with her record of blatantly rooting for the failure of the US military in a time of war, and now her religious stereotyping compounded by blatant ignorance, isn't it time for Fox News to find a better stand-in for the liberal cause?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.