California’s Chief Supreme Court Justice just quit the Republican Party in disgust over Trump’s decisions


California’s highest-ranking Republican in state government just announced that she has quit the party over Trump’s choice of and the Senate’s confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s decision to leave the GOP completes the partisan realignment of California’s highest court from a 4-3 Republican majority to a 4-2 Democratic majority with herself as an independent, once outgoing Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s final appointment is confirmed.

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has been in office since her 2010 appointment by former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and will serve until at least 2023. She revealed her decision to the non-profit news website CALmatters:

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In a phone interview with CALmatters, Cantil-Sakauye… said she made the final decision to change her registration after watching the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“I’ve been thinking about it for some time,” Cantil-Sakauye said, adding that she talked it over with her husband and friends. Their consensus, she said, was that “you didn’t leave the party. The party left you.”

Palo Alto University Professor Christine Blasey-Ford credibly testified that Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her while he was a high school student at a prestigious Maryland prep school, but he still received a nearly bare minimum of votes to be elevated to America’s top court from Republican Senators.

The now-former Republican California Chief Justice has been on the bench in the state’s courts for 28 years and received a total of four judicial appointments from former GOP governors. Her decision to quit the GOP was likely hastened by Donald Trump’s very public attacks on judges as his criminality is revealed. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye explained the problem to CALmatters:

“I don’t believe the attacks are going to stop. I do not believe the undermining and marginalizing of the branch will ever stop.”

“And it is people’s right to speak up.”

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye is a Filipino-American whose mother’s family were itinerant workers on Californian farms. Early last year, she sent a public letter to Trump’s former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and departing White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who was then the Homeland Security Chief, asking that the men restrict ICE agents from “stalking” courthouses and using them to entrap undocumented migrants.


The two Trump cabinet secretaries publicly rejected her request and falsely blamed California’s sanctuary state laws for problems with “public safety.”

This November’s blue wave election reached tsunami levels in California, obliterating the Republican stranglehold on Orange County and reduced the GOP’s Congressional delegation to just eight members, ensuring that the party remains a helpless minority in the largest state’s political arena.

Now, Donald Trump’s choice of the most partisan Supreme Court Justice in modern American history — a man credibly accused of both sexual assault and perjury — has just cost his party the head of the highest court in the nation’s biggest state.

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Original reporting by Dartunorro Clark at NBC News.

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Grant Stern

Editor at Large

Grant Stern is a columnist for the Washington Press. He's also mortgage broker, writer, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida.