Minnesota will benefit from the elevation of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Wilhelmina Wright to the federal bench.
With the U.S. Senate’s vote on Tuesday evening, Wright becomes the first African-American woman to serve as a federal district court judge in the state. More important, she will bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and judgment to a critical position.
Before joining the state’s high court in 2012, Wright, 52, spent a decade on the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken have been diligent in pushing Wright’s nomination despite obstacles, and they were right to do so. Wright brings with her more than 25 years of legal experience, including as a trial judge in Ramsey County and as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. attorney in Minnesota, where she specialized in complex economic fraud and violent-crime cases. Born in Virginia, educated at Yale and Harvard, Wright nevertheless is rooted in Minnesota and has long been active in the community, serving on boards that range from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law to the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys.
Some conservative groups have been fighting Wright’s confirmation, hoping to stop her rise before she becomes a possible contender for the U.S. Supreme Court. In particular, Heritage Action put out an alert on Tuesday urging a “no” vote and warning legislators that the organization intended to make Wright’s confirmation a “key vote” on its legislative scorecard. Heritage Action is a sister organization to the Heritage Foundation.
That attempt failed, as it should have. Klobuchar said that there has been growing pressure not to confirm any more Obama appointees and that Wright’s confirmation took some work. But, she said, “Democrats and Republicans on the [Senate Judiciary] Committee had a lot of respect for her. She’s someone who is not partisan in the way she approaches things and has more experience at each level of the state court system than anyone we’ve put up before.”
Wright will make an invaluable addition to the federal district court for Minnesota.