Senate Confirms Judicial Nominee Who Accused Reagan of ‘Bigotry’

Wilhelmina Wright nominated to federal district court in Minnesota

Associate Justice Wilhelmina Wright / Star Tribune via AP


A majority of U.S. senators voted Tuesday voted to confirm Wilhelmina Wright to the U.S. District Court for Minnesota.

Wright, who currently serves on Minnesota’s Supreme Court, has been under fire from conservatives for once accusing President Ronald Reagan’s administration of "bigotry" and indicating that she once opposed property rights as they are understood by the U.S. Constitution.

The Senate voted 58-36 to confirm Wright, who has been guided through the nomination process by Sens. Al Franken (D., Minn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.). Klobuchar expressed confidence in December that Wright would be confirmed.

In a passage written for the UCLA Law Review in 1989, Wright indicated that the Reagan administration and Chief Justice William Rehnquist were helping white individuals who were running from desegregated schools, The Daily Signal reported last week.

"White people are running and hiding. Their mad scramble is aided by a Chief Justice [Justice Rehnquist] who owned racially restrictive property and a Presidential administration [President Reagan] that believes bigotry, poverty, and poor educational opportunities for most public school students are the unavoidable fruits of a ‘thriving’ free market economy," Wright argued in the passage.

She earlier wrote in the same review that racism in America is based on the principles of "the sanctity of property and the belief in the hierarchy of races."

"The first of these principles is firmly protected by the words of the Constitution; the second is proscribed by the words of the instrument, but not by its effect," Wright said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Wright on these statements during a nomination hearing last July, to which she responded that her words were "inartful" but that they needed more context. Wright further stated that she supports the constitutional understanding of property rights.

Wright was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in September during a voice vote. In announcing her nomination last April, President Obama touted Wright’s "distinguished record of service."

"I am proud to nominate Justice Wilhelmina Marie Wright to serve on the United States District Court bench," Obama stated. "She has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction."

Morgan Chalfant   Email Morgan | Full Bio | RSS
Morgan Chalfant is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Morgan worked as a staff writer at Red Alert Politics. She also served as the year-long Collegiate Network fellow on the editorial page at USA TODAY from 2013-14. Morgan graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in English and Mathematics. Her Twitter handle is @mchalfant16.

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