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Panel approves Tani Cantil-Sakauye's nomination for chief justice of California high court

August 25, 2010 |  1:27 pm

Cantil A state commission Wednesday unanimously approved the nomination of Tani Cantil-Sakauye as the next chief justice of California, a critical step in making the appeals court justice the first nonwhite to head the state high court and California's sprawling court system.

The Commission on Judicial Appointments, headed by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, who is retiring next year, will hear testimony at a public hearing on whether Cantil-Sakauye is suited for the job. A state bar evaluation committee gave her the bar's highest rating.

Cantil-Sakauye, 50, a Filipina American, is a moderate Republican who began her legal career as a Sacramento prosecutor, worked on legal and legislative matters in the George Deukmejian administration and moved by Republican appointment up the judicial ranks to the state Court of Appeals in Sacramento.

She would face voters unopposed in November for a confirmation vote. If approved, as expected, she would replace George in January.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Photo: Tani Cantil-Sakauye. Credit: Los Angeles Times