Senate approves MN Justice Wilhelmina Wright for spot on federal court


Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Wilhelmina Wright will be moving to a federal courtroom.

The Senate voted 58-36 Tuesday to confirm Wright to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for Minnesota.

President Obama nominated Wright for the seat in April. She succeeds former Chief Federal Judge Michael Davis who left the court on Aug. 1.

14 Republican Senators joined their Democratic colleagues in voting to confirm Wright.

In a joint statement with fellow Senator Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar congratulated Wright, noting: "While many judicial nominees are languishing in the Senate, she has made it through the confirmation gauntlet."

Klobuchar tells the Star Tribune the judicial seat Wright is filling was vacant for only 171 days, compared to an average of 514 days.

The conservative group Heritage Action had opposed Wright, saying that as a law student she wrote an article that criticized former President Ronald Reagan, former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and the concept of property rights.

Wright, 52, has served on the District Court, Appellate Court, and Supreme Court benches in Minnesota. Before becoming a judge she was an assistant U.S. Attorney. She earned her law degree from Harvard after getting her bachelor's degree at Yale.

Nikita Levy Pounds, a University of St. Thomas law professor and president of the Minneapolis NAACP, tells the Pioneer Press that Wright becoming the first black woman to serve as a federal judge in the Minnesota district is good for the state: "As an African-American woman serving on the federal bench, she will add a new perspective and insight that will enhance the administration of justice," Levy-Pounds said.

Wright's confirmation means Gov. Mark Dayton will name her successor on Minnesota's high court.

Next Up


Signs come down at Giordano's restaurant in Uptown

It appears the restaurant has closed for good.

State Capitol.

Walz eyes COVID-19 relief package totaling $300-$600 million amid budget surplus

The state forecasted a budget surplus for the remainder of the biennium.

Bar beer

Walz non-committal on extension of restaurant, gym closures

He has suggested that the ban on mixing with people outside your household could continue over Christmas.

scratch lottery ticket

State lottery: Don't give scratch-offs as gifts to minors

The Minnesota Lottery participates in an annual responsible gambling campaign focusing on underage lottery play during the holidays.

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota adds 2 more qualifying conditions for medical marijuana

There will be 17 conditions that qualify people to obtain medical marijuana in Minnesota.

Matt Birk

Ex-Viking Matt Birk confirms interest in future run for governor

The next gubernatorial election in Minnesota is Nov. 8, 2022.

Screen Shot 2020-12-01 at 10.59.59 AM

Handsome Hog in St. Paul to close temporarily

Executive chef Justin Sutherland cited inaction by state and federal leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.


MN radio host resigns after repeatedly body shaming Iowa female host

Aaron Imholte is now broadcasting the show from an online platform.


Dept. of Education adding more gender options when collecting student data

The public can comment on the implementation of the nonbinary gender options until Dec. 13.

police tape, crime scene

Police ID couple found dead in home, murder-suicide suspected

The bodies were found in St. Louis County after the pair failed to show for work.

State Capitol

Minnesota's budget forecast improves, shows $641M surplus for 2020-21

"Higher general fund revenues and lower expected spending result in a projected surplus," MMB said.