Sharon L. Browne, a principal attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, was sworn in today as one of the six new members of the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). All six new Board members were administered the oath of office by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, at a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.
The six new members were confirmed by the Senate on March 19. Although the president formally nominates all of the LSC’s Board members, Ms. Browne’s nomination was one of those put forward by Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY, in his role as minority leader of the Senate.
Funded by Congress and operating as an independent 501(c)(3), the LSC is the largest provider of civil legal assistance for the poor in the nation.
Ms. Browne has issued this statement: "I am honored to have the privilege and opportunity to serve as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation. The LSC carries forward an important mission: Helping low income Americans with everyday legal problems such as family law, housing, employment, government benefits, or consumer problems. As a Board member, I will work to enhance the quality of the legal services that the LSC provides, as well as their efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability."
Sharon Browne is one of America’s leading litigators for equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal protection under the law. In California, she has been the leading courtroom defender of Proposition 209 (Article I, Section 31 of the California Constitution), which guarantees equal opportunities by outlawing preferences or discrimination based on race or sex in public employment, contracting, and education.
Her landmark legal victories in California courts include Hi-Voltage Wire Works v. San Jose (2000), in which the state Supreme Court gave Proposition 209 a broad and forceful interpretation, applying it to strike down race-based preferences in government contracting; Crawford v. Huntington Beach Union High School District (2002), the first case to apply Proposition 209 to K-12 public education; and C & C Construction v. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (2004), the first case to interpret Proposition 209’s federal funding exception.
At the United States Supreme Court, Ms. Browne was actively involved in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County, Ky Board of Education, as an amicus in support of parents who successfully challenged the use of race in assigning students to public schools; she sat second chair during oral argument in the case.
Ms. Browne was named a California Lawyer of the Year in 2004, by California Lawyer magazine, for her achievements in defending and implementing Proposition 209.
Ms. Browne is a graduate of McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, joining Pacific Legal Foundation in 1985. From 1991-1995, she was with the public issues law firm of Zumbrun, Best, & Findley in Sacramento, where she specialized in land use and education law.
Ms. Browne served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento for five years.
She is currently serving on the California Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.