Introduces Legislation to Designate San Francisco Courthouse in
honor of James R. Browning
20 , 2003
I am pleased to announce that today I am introducing legislation
to designate the United States Courthouse located at 95 Seventh
Street in San Francisco, California as the ``James R. Browning United
States Courthouse,'' to honor Judge Browning for his lifetime of
outstanding public service.
R. Browning was born in Great Falls, Montana, and received his law
degree from the University of Montana. Prior to his appointment
to the bench, he served in the Pacific Theater during World War
II, worked in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice,
practiced in a law firm, and served as Clerk of the U.S. Supreme
President John F. Kennedy appointed James Browning to the United
States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He dedicated the
rest of his career to the Ninth Circuit, becoming the longest serving
judge in the history of the circuit. Judge Browning became very
active in the Judicial Conference of the United States, serving
on a number of committees that worked to strengthen the federal
becoming Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit in 1976, Judge Browning
focused on improving the function of the circuit, which was struggling
with a large backlog of cases and delays in appeal decisions. Due
to his efforts and innovative practices, additional judges were
added to the court of appeals, the time required to decide appeals
was cut in half, and the backlog was eliminated. He also improved
communication among the justices, emphasizing the importance of
good colleague rapport. His innovations were studied and adopted
by other circuit courts, and he has received several prestigious
awards in recognition of his achievements.
Browning's contributions to national jurisprudence are also outstanding.
During his forty-two years on the Ninth Circuit, Judge Browning
has participated in almost 1000 published appellate decisions and
authored many other unsigned per curiam opinions. In a 2001 tribute,
a colleague described him as ``the consummate appellate judge .....
he treats each case that comes before him with careful attention
and produces succinct, clearly reasoned opinions.'' Colleagues have
also lauded him for his seminal contributions to national antitrust
jurisprudence and his attentiveness to ensuring that citizens have
access to the justice system.
Browning stepped down as Chief Judge in 1988 but did not retire,
remaining an active circuit judge and a member of myriad committees
and judicial groups. He took senior status in September 2000. His
activities have been significantly curtailed due to declining health.
It is my hope that we can enact this bill in the 108th Congress,
so that Judge Browning can witness this much-deserved tribute to
his lifetime of public service.
Browning's achievements would be fittingly acknowledged by naming
the historic federal building at Seventh and Mission streets in
his honor. As one of his supporters said, ``A great and sturdy courthouse
needs the name of a great and sturdy judge.'' I invite my colleagues
to cosponsor the ``James R. Browning United States Courthouse''