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State bar commission gives highest rating to Supreme Court nominee

August 23, 2010 |  1:36 pm

A state bar commission gave its highest rating Monday to Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Gov. Schwarzenegger's nominee to become California's next chief justice.

The bar's Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation rated the appeals justice from Sacramento as "exceptionally well-qualified" to preside over the California Supreme Court and the state's sprawling court system.

Cantil-Sakauye, the first non-white person and only the second woman to be nominated chief justice, has a "brilliant mind" and "exceptional objectivity," the panel said. It described her as as "an extraordinarily hard worker" who "brings a sense of joyful enthusiasm" to the bench.

Cantil-Sakauye, 50, a moderate Republican and Filipino American, is expected to be approved Wednesday by the three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments, which is headed by current Chief Justice Ronald M. George. George, who is retiring in January, is believed to have played a strong role in the nomination of his successor.

Cantil-Sakauye's name will then appear on the November ballot for confirmation.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco