Speaker after speaker remarked on Browning's warm smile and ability to emphathize, regardless of whether he was talking to a United States senator or a homeless person on the streets of San Francisco's civic center.
"He was the judge who walked the neighborhood every day," said Judge Marsha Berzon, a former clerk of Browning's. "He was essentially friends with everyone on the street."
"He'd always come up to me and say, 'Friend Max!'" Senator Max Baucus of Browning's home state of Montana said in a videotaped statement. "And he meant it."
Browning -- known in his family as Jimmy, according to his nephew William Warden -- served on the Ninth Circuit for 50 years until his death in May at 93. At the San Francisco courthouse named in his honor, he was remembered Friday as a strong leader who invariably put the institution ahead of his personal ego, with the foresight to use information technology to keep the circuit unified.