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James R. Browning

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Title: James R. Browning  
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Subject: List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States, List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States (Seat 1), Alfred Goodwin, List of federal judges appointed by John F. Kennedy, James R. Browning United States Court of Appeals Building
Collection: 1918 Births, 2012 Deaths, Clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States, Georgetown University Faculty, Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Montana State University Alumni, New York University Faculty, People from Great Falls, Montana, Recipients of the Bronze Star Medal, United States Army Officers, United States Court of Appeals Judges Appointed by John F. Kennedy, University of Montana Alumni, Washington, D.C. Lawyers
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James R. Browning

James Browning
Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
June 30, 1976 – June 15, 1988
Preceded by Richard Chambers
Succeeded by Alfred Goodwin
Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
September 18, 1961 – September 1, 2000
Nominated by John F. Kennedy
Preceded by Walter Pope
Succeeded by Sandra Ikuta
Personal details
Born October 1, 1918
Great Falls, Montana, United States
Died May 6, 2012(2012-05-06) (aged 93)
Marin County, California, United States
Alma mater Montana State University, Bozeman

James Robert Browning (October 1, 1918 – May 6, 2012)[1] was an American judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He served 50 years on the court—the longest tenure of any U.S. Circuit Judge—and authored more than 1,000 published appellate decisions. While Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, he oversaw numerous reforms that modernized and increased the efficiency of the circuit's administration.

Browning was raised in Belt, Montana, where he attended public school. He was nicknamed "Tiny" as a child, only growing to an adult height of 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m). Browning received his undergraduate degree from Montana State University in 1938, and an LL.B. from Montana University Law School in 1941, where he graduated at the top of his class and served as editor-in-chief of the law review. After law school, he joined the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice in Denver, Colorado. In 1943, he entered the United States Army as a private during World War II. He spent three years in the Pacific Theatre in military intelligence, and earned a Bronze Star and the rank of first lieutenant.

Browning left the army in 1946 and returned to the Department of Justice, where he proceeded to rise through the ranks over the following seven years. He served in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA).

He left the DOJ the same year, however, to enter private practice as a partner in the firm of Perlman, Lyons & Browning in Washington, D.C. He also lectured at Clerk of the United States Supreme Court from 1958 until 1961, at the request of Chief Justice Earl Warren. Browning was the last clerk of the Supreme Court to hold the Bible at a presidential inauguration, for President John F. Kennedy.

On September 6, 1961, President Kennedy nominated Browning to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, to a seat vacated by docket system in a federal court and the use of e-mail communications between judge's chambers. Browning assumed senior status on September 1, 2000.

In 1992, Browning was awarded the Edward J. Devitt Award for Distinguished Service to Justice, which is presented annually to a federal judge. In 2001, the Montana State Bar Association gave Browning its highest honor, the Jameson Award. In 2005, the main Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse in San Francisco was named in his honor.[2]

Browning founded two non-profit institutions for the improvement of justice: the Western Regional Justice Center in Pasadena, California, and the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, also in Pasadena.

Browning resided in Mill Valley, Marin County, California. He was the last circuit judge remaining from the Kennedy Administration.


  1. ^ Williams, Carol (May 9, 2012). "Longtime head of 9th Circuit". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ a b "Pelosi Statement on Passage of the California Missions Preservation Act". 2004-11-20. Retrieved 2012-05-08. 

External links

  • "Exhibit Highlights Career of Late Chief Judge"
Legal offices
Preceded by
Walter Pope
Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Succeeded by
Sandra Ikuta
Preceded by
Richard Chambers
Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Succeeded by
Alfred Goodwin
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