California’s Fil-Am chief justice quits Republican Party

/ 01:21 AM December 15, 2018

Disillusioned, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, seen here with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appointed her, has left the GOP and is re-registering with no party affiliation. AP PHOTO

SAN FRANCISCO – The Filipina-American Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court had left the Republican Party following the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, she announced Thursday.

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye had been thinking about leaving the GOP for some time and decided to quit following the backlash over multiple sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, she told


Christine Blasey Ford, a professor from Palo Alto, alleged before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, that Kavanaugh assaulted her in the 1980s when they were both high school students. Kavanaugh denied the accusation and was subsequently confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cantil-Sakauye said she is re-registering with no-party affiliation. She said her husband and friends told her, “You didn’t leave the party. The party left you.”


Cantil-Sakauye was appointed as California’s chief justice in 2011 by then-GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She is the second woman to hold the position and also the first Filipina American state Supreme Court justice.

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. CA.GOV

“I felt compelled to make a choice now,” she told CALmatters. “It better suits what I do and how I approach issues.”

Cantil-Sakauye earlier this week said that President Trump’s attacks on judges who rule against him are damaging the rule of law.

She has also denounced immigration enforcers’ policy of arresting undocumented immigrants at California courthouses and asked Attorney General Jeff Sessionsand former Homeland Security Secretary John Kellyto stop the practice: “Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair.”

Cantil-Sakauye joins a series of many prominent Republicans who have disavowed or left the GOP in recent months, according to

Former Rep. David Jolly (Florida) in October said he and his wife would re-register under no party affiliation to reject partisan politics.

Lori Stegmann, a county commissioner in Oregon, who left the Republican Party in July, said she could not condone “the misogyny, the racism and the unethical and immoral behavior of the current administration.”


Republican strategist Steve Schmidt left the partyin June, denouncing Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which led to the separation of thousands of migrant parents and children.


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TAGS: California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Christine Blasey Ford, defections from GOP, disaffected Republicans, party affiliation, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh
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