California's Chief Justice Quits Republican Party

December 14, 2018 - 3:15 pm

The chief justice of the California Supreme Court has quietly given up her Republican registration. Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has instead opted to re-register as a “no party preference” voter.

Cantil-Sakauye told CALmatters she made the decision after watching the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he was grilled for hours on the alleged sexual assault of Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford when both were teenagers in 1982.

She said that her friends and family encouraged her to switch, saying that the Republican Party had strayed from its values. 

They told her "you didn’t leave the party. The party left you," she said, according to CALmatters. 

The change also comes just days after Cantil-Sakauye publicly criticized remarks by President Trump as being harmful to the rule of law.

CALMatters Senior Editor Dan Morain, who first reported her decision, told radio station KNX in Los Angeles that the move was building for some time, despite her long history of close ties to Republicans.

“George Deukmejian, of course, was a Republican who appointed her to municipal court” in 1990, said Morain, referring the former governor. “And then Pete Wilson appointed her to the Superior Court, and Arnold Schwarzenegger…appointed her to the appellate court and then Chief Justice.”

Cantil-Sakauye, the 28th chief justice of California, is the first Asian-Filipina American and only the second woman to serve in that position.