California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has quietly given up her Republican registration and re-registered as a no-party-preference voter, saying Thursday she had become increasingly uncomfortable with the GOP’s direction nationally and in the state.
In a phone interview with CALmatters, Cantil-Sakauye—who was a prosecutor before becoming a judge 28 years ago and California Supreme Court chief justice in 2011—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. “You can draw your own conclusions,” she said.
In those hearings, Kavanaugh denied allegations by Christine Blasey Ford, a Palo Alto professor, that he assaulted her when they were high school students in Maryland.
“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.”
The 59-year-old jurist, who as chief justice is the head of the judicial branch of government, is the latest high-profile Republican to disavow the party in the wake of President Donald Trump’s 2016 election, though she did so without fanfare. Political consultant Steve Schmidt, who ran Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, TV personality and former congressman Joe Scarborough and others have publicly peeled off as GOP priorities shifted to reflect the president and his administration's combative style and nationalist agenda.