California chief justice blasts immigration crackdown, says rule of law is ‘being challenged’

Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California’s chief justice, is fast emerging as one of the Trump administration’s most vocal critics in the judiciary.

Her main concern is the controversy surrounding President Trump’s immigration policies. Earlier this month, she criticized federal immigration authorities for using courthouses as “bait” to arrest undocumented immigrants. Days later, she assailed the president’s disparaging comments about federal judges who ruled against his travel ban.

And on Monday, Cantil-Sakauye used her annual State of the Judiciary address to argue that the rule of law was being “challenged” amid the administration’s immigration crackdown.

Without mentioning Trump by name, she told the state’s lawmakers that “the rule of law means that we as a people are governed by laws and rules, and not by a monarch.”

“We are living in a time of civil rights unrest, eroding public trust in our institutions, economic anxiety, and unprecedented polarization,” she said. “Our values, our rules and our laws are being called into question, and all three branches of government and the free press are in the crosshairs.”

Cantil-Sakauye, a Republican appointed in 2010 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has typically used the state of the judiciary address to discuss budget issues before the legislature.

But she devoted much of Monday’s speech to immigration enforcement under the Trump administration.

She criticized recent raids by immigration authorities that had taken place at or near courthouses, saying they would shake people’s trust in the judicial branch. Such incidents have been reported in at least five states, including California, as The Washington Post’s Kristine Phillips has written.

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