Another lifelong Republican has left the party — this time, a Texas judge — citing her love for her country and her disdain for President Trump.
Following the departure of Rep. Justin Amash (I-Michigan) earlier this month, Texas Republican jurist Elsa Alcala announced on Facebook her leaving the Grand Ole Party. She, like Amash, specifically called attention to President Trump and the willingness of Republicans to excuse support for the President.
Here's the full statement, reposted w/permission: pic.twitter.com/mm31SdBZuA
— Keri Blakinger (@keribla) July 15, 2019
“I have had long discussions with friends who support him who say: ‘he’s an embarrassment on x, but he’s been great about y and the Democrats are terrible about z,'” wrote Alcala. “To me, nothing positive about him could absolve him of his rotten core.”
Alcala said that core is racism, which makes her timing clear — the most overt act of racism from the president came over the weekend when he told four Congresswomen of color — three of whom were born in America and the fourth having been a citizen longer than Melania Trump — to go back to their nations of origin. She echoed those comments in her departure.
“[D]on’t tell me to go back where I came from. My relatives have been in this Texas since before it was the USA,” she wrote. “My English is probably better than yours.”
She said that as the current Republican party supports Trump, she cannot support that party. Instead, she’s throwing her lot in with the 2020 Democratic field.
But despite being the core of Alcala’s rationale, President Trump might not be her only source of motivations. In her eight years on the Texas court that handles all final appeals for death penalty cases, Alcala’s views on capital punishment grew distant from those of her conservative colleagues. She was first appointed to that court by then-Governor Rick Perry (R) after serving as an appellate court judge.
On the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Alcala oversaw the legal proceedings for the busiest execution chambers in the country, facing thousands of cases a year and coming to decisions on hundreds of people’s fates weekly. She eventually started noticing what she characterized as flaws in the system, and by the end of her tenure, she questioned the constitutionality of Texas’ death penalty altogether.
“In my view, the Texas scheme has some serious deficiencies that have, in the past, caused me great concern about this form of punishment as it exists in Texas today,” she wrote.
She opted not to run for reelection to the Court in 2018. At present, she is a self-employed lawyer. After leaving office, she floated the idea of a moratorium on the death penalty in Texas. But ultimately, it was Donald Trump that caused her to leave the Republican Party altogether.
“I spent 29 years in government service to help the people of our country and I love our country and its people. And I have given more to this country than the vast majority of people,” wrote Alcala. “What I know for sure is that we, as a country, are better than this.”
(Featured image: Texas Court of Criminal Appeals)
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.