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Justice Kennedy Remembers Ninth Circuit Judge James R. Browning

May 8, 2012 / Ninth Circuit Public Information Office

Statement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy regarding Judge Jim Browning

In one of the marble hallways of the Supreme Court in Washington, D. C., there is a charming picture of a young man with a charming smile.  He was Jim Browning, then the Clerk of the Court.  He brought his charm and his smile to San Francisco, where he served for so many decades as a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Jim's smile was the smile of one who was immensely proud to dedicate his life to public service, and to being a fair-minded man and a mentor to all with whom he served. 

After the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Courthouse that was the center for the Ninth Circuit was closed for years of renovation and reconstruction.  Together with the other judges on the court, Jim Browning gave valuable assistance in the effort to find temporary office and courtroom space in San Francisco, insuring that the city would remain the real, as well as the official, headquarters of a federal circuit of immense size and influence.  He succeeded in all respects.  The Court has returned to that Courthouse, the Courthouse that now bears his name.  He loved the Ninth Circuit and was devoted to maintaining its cohesion, its collegiality, and its judicial excellence.

In the end a Court is made of people.  Jim Browning made it his first order of business to insure that all of its people - its judges, its law clerks, and its excellent staff - were his friends.  And they were.  The court, the judiciary, and the country will give thanks for his service and will honor his memory.


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