ST. PAUL, Minn. (Feb. 18, 2016) — Wilhelmina M. Wright became the 35th person to serve on Minnesota’s federal bench. She took the oath of office on Thursday.
John R. Tunheim, Chief U.S. District Judge, is pleased to announce that on Feb. 18, 2016, Wilhelmina M. Wright took the oath of office to become the Court’s 35th U.S. District Judge. Judge Wright was administered the oath by Chief Judge Tunheim in a private ceremony; a public investiture ceremony will be held at a later date.
Before becoming a U.S. District Judge, Wright served as an Associate Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court since 2012, and as a Judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals from 2002 to 2012. Before joining the Court of Appeals, Wright also served as a trial judge on the Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul. With the Minnesota State Court Bench, Wright served as Presiding Judge on the Special Redistricting Panel, and a member of the Minnesota Judicial Council, the Minnesota Courts Public Trust and Confidence Work Group, and the Minnesota State Bar Association Task Force on the American Bar Association Model Rules for Professional Conduct.
Before joining the bench, Wright was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota from 1995 to 2000, where she was awarded the U.S. Department of Justice Special Achievement Award in 1997 and the U.S. Department of Justice Director’s Award for Public Service in 2000. She also practiced with the Washington D.C. law firm Hogan Hartson, LLP and clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Wright graduated with honors in Literature from Yale University and received her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.
Wright has been active in her community and has served on several boards and committees. Wright currently serves on the St. Paul Academy and Summit School Board of Trustees and the Yale University Council. Wright has also received many awards throughout her career, including the Myra Bradwell Award from Minnesota Women Lawyers in 2006 and the Leno O. Smith Achievement Award from the Black Women Lawyers Network in 2004. In addition, Wright has shared her expertise both locally and abroad by serving in several capacities, including with the International Bridges to Justice in Geneva, Switzerland and as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.
Wright was nominated by President Barack Obama on April 15, 2015 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 19, 2016. She will fill the vacancy created when Judge Michael J. Davis took senior status.
Wright will be chambered in the St. Paul Courthouse at 316 North Robert Street.