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Citing Kavanaugh, California Chief Justice Leaves Republican Party

After the Republican Party suffered severe losses in California in the recent midterm elections, the state’s Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye was one of the few remaining high-profile Republicans.

But now, even she has abandoned the Grand Old Party, reportedly quietly re-registering as a no-party-preference voter.

Speaking to CALmatters on Thursday, Cantil-Sakauye pointed in particular to the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a deciding factor. She said that while she already begun feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the direction of the party in the years since President Trump’s election, Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings sparked her final decision.

“I’ve been thinking about it for some time,” she explained. After talking it over with her husband and friends, they came to the conclusion that Cantil-Sakauye “didn’t leave the party. The party left [her].”

Cantil-Sakauye has also not held back in her criticism of the Trump administration, most recently accusing the president of “damaging the rule of law” in his attacks on federal judges.

Appointed to California Supreme Court by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cantil-Sakauye has presided over a largely unified court, issuing unanimous or near-unanimous rulings, despite the party division amongst the justices.