SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -

The nation's longest-serving federal appellate judge has died at the age of 93.

James Browning served as chief judge of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from 1976 to 1988, and went into semi-retirement in 2000.

The 9th Circuit's massive Beaux Arts courthouse, which survived the city's 1906 earthquake, was named after Browning in 2005.

The Montana native was appointed to the 9th Circuit in 1961 by President John Kennedy. The president first met Browning when he was serving as the Supreme Court chief justice's law clerk. Browning held the Bible as Kennedy was sworn into the executive office.

Federal court officials say Browning died in a Marin County hospital Saturday.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Marie Rose, a daughter and three grandchildren.