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California Chief Justice Quits GOP Over Kavanaugh Confirmation

"I felt compelled to make a choice now"

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has quit the GOP for confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Appointed in 2011 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cantil-Sakauye was the first Asian-Filipino American and the second woman to serve as California's Chief Justice. Though a lifelong Republican, she has now disavowed the party to become an independent.

In a phone interview with CALMatters on Thursday, the Chief Justice of California said she made her final decision to leave the GOP after watching the U.S. Senate's Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.

"You can draw your own conclusions," she told the outlet.

One possible conclusion one might draw is that Cantil-Sakauye wants the Republican Party to abandon due process and embrace empty slogans like "Believe All Women" instead of examining facts. During the Senate hearings, Kavanaugh was accused in an 11th-hour ambush of attempting to sexually assault Palo Alto professor, Christine Blasey Ford, at a pool party 36 years ago while both were in high school. Despite Ford's emotional testimony, she provided no corroborating evidence nor a single corroborating witness. In fact, the witnesses that Ford named not only denied her claims, they downright refuted them. Her best friend at the time of the alleged incident, Leland Keyser, stated under penalty of felony that she never even met Brett Kavanaugh. Add on the fact that Ford could not remember how she got to or home from the party in question, and the case falls apart.

In the end, due process prevailed and Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, with the deciding vote provided by none other than a woman: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). "I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the Court,” said Collins at the time. Though Collins certainly understood the seriousness of Ford’s claims and said she believed her contention that something happened to her, the senator noted that the evidence does not support Kavanaugh’s guilt. "Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering," said Collins.

Cantil-Sakauye told CALMatters that she had been considering her leave of the Republican Party for "some time" and she only made her final decision after thoroughly discussing it with family and friends. "You didn’t leave the party. The party left you," they reportedly told her.

"I felt compelled to make a choice now,” said Cantil-Sakauye. "It better suits what I do and how I approach issues."

In truth, the California Chief Justice has been flirting with an exit from the GOP under President Trump for a while. Last year, she strongly advised U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to cease having law enforcement "stalk" illegal immigrants to arrest them at courthouses, cautioning it would dissuade them from reporting crimes.

"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," she wrote.

Kelly and Sessions dismissed her request and told her to bring her concern to Gov. Jerry Brown.

 
 
 

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