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California Gov. Jerry Brown's nominee to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court has received strong support during the run-up to his confirmation hearing.

The three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments is widely expected to confirm Stanford University law professor Mariano-Florentino "Tino" Cuellar after a two-hour hearing Thursday in San Francisco.

If approved, the registered Democrat would fill a vacancy created by the retirement in January of conservative Justice Marvin Baxter. The Mexican-born Cuellar will also be placed on the November ballot for voter approval if confirmed Thursday.

The three witnesses scheduled to testify say they are supporters. In addition, the commission received seven written endorsements, including one from former FBI chief Robert Mueller. The commission hasn't received any written opposition.

"I believe Tino to be of the highest caliber and a man of character," Mueller wrote. "He is reasonable, even-tempered and moderate in his approach to the law."

Cuellar was born in Matamoros, Mexico, and walked across the border to attend school in Brownsville, Texas, according to the governor's office. He earned his law degree from Yale Law School and a doctoral degree in political science from Stanford University. He has been a law professor at Stanford since 2001.


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