gavel.jpgA state commission will hold a confirmation hearing in San Francisco today on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nomination of state Court of Appeal Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of Sacramento to be California’s next chief justice.

If she is confirmed by the three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments, Cantil-Sakauye’s name would appear on the Nov. 2 ballot for voter approval for a 12-year term that would begin in January.

Cantil-Sakauye, 50, would replace California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George, who will retire on Jan. 2.

The commission is made up of George, Attorney General Jerry Brown, and Joan Dempsey Klein, the senior presiding justice of the state Court of Appeal.

Fourteen witnesses are scheduled to speak at the hearing, including 12 favoring the appointment and two opposed.

One will be a representative of the State Bar of California, which has given Cantil-Sakauye its highest rating – “exceptionally well qualified” for the appointment.

Cantil-Sakauye, the daughter of two farmworkers, would be the state high court’s first Filipino-American justice and its second female chief justice.

Schwarzenegger, when nominating her last month, said Cantil-Sakauye has “a distinguished history of public service,” and said, “She is a living example of the American Dream.”

The seven-member court is headquartered in San Francisco, and the 11 a.m. hearing will be held in the Supreme Court courtroom at the State Building.

The hearing will also be broadcast statewide on the California Channel, a public affairs cable television network.

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