Justice Wilhelmina M. Wright

Justice Wilhelmina M. Wright

As the nation celebrates Women’s History Month, it is only natural to look locally to our own leaders, and see many examples of leadership and integrity. One such woman who exemplifies fairness and respect is Judge Wilhelmina Wright of the Federal District of Minnesota.

For those who aren’t familiar with this incredible woman, Judge Wright started her judicial career as a Ramsey County District Court Judge, appointed by Governor Jesse Ventura. Two years later, she was elevated to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and then in 2012, was selected to become a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice. Four years later when she was nominated to the federal bench, her appointment was remarkable for several reasons: She was the state’s first female African-American justice, and she was the only jurist in state history to have served as a state district court judge, appellate court judge and state Supreme Court Justice. And in a time when judicial confirmations are long and messy, her process was very short. From the time she was nominated by President Obama to the final vote in the Senate, it only took 171 days.

Judge Wright’s personal conviction regarding work ethic, sound judgment, and dedication to public service is reflected in her years devoted to serving the public. She embraces these qualities, and has a deep respect for the law, the courts, and all participants in the judicial system. In fact, she has said that, “Fairness, impartiality, respect for the rule of law, and respect for all litigants are fundamental requirements for a judge… Indeed, I have no agenda as a judge other than these values. In my nearly 15 years of service as a Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court and as a Judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Ramsey County District Court, these values have been my lodestar, and I give no consideration to whether I agree or disagree with a party.”

To achieve this level of fairness in the Courts, she has said numerous times that diversity enriches the practice of law, and is an integral part of the judicial system. As she said in written remarks to Senator David Vitter during her confirmation hearing process,

In light of the number of highly qualified women lawyers and lawyers of color who are learned in the law and have the ethical and moral fitness to serve as a judge, I believe it would undermine the public’s trust and confidence in the judiciary if there were no judges who are women or judges of color.

We are proud that this learned and honorable judge got her start in Ramsey County.


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