California's chief justice leaves GOP; cites Kavanaugh confirmation to Supreme Court

The chief justice of California’s Supreme Court announced that she quietly left the Republican Party over the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told CALmatters on Thursday that she made her decision to re-register as a no-party voter following Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation hearings.

“You can draw your own conclusions,” she said.

Kavanaugh faced sexual misconduct accusations from several women, which he denied. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh assaulted her in the 1980s while they were in high school.

Cantil-Sakauye said she didn’t view her decision as her leaving the Republican Party.

“I’ve been thinking about it for some time,” she said, adding that she discussed it with her husband and friends. Their consensus, she said, was that “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, and served as a prosecutor before becoming a judge 28 years ago.

The 59-year-old justice has sparred with the Trump administration in the past for its attacks on judges.

She joins several other Republicans who have either disavowed or left the party in recent months, including former U.S. Rep. David Jolly and Republican strategist Steve Schmidt.