March 11, 2015
Justice Wilhelmina Wright serves on the Minnesota Supreme court and is the mother of sophomore Kathryn Schmechel. Justice Wright has served on the Minnesota Supreme court for four year, previously she was a prosecutor and served as a trial judge, and on the Court of Appeals. Wright is the first African American woman to serve on the Supreme Court but stated “I am too young to be the first anything.” During her session, Wright talked about how her identity and experiences growing up in Norfolk Virginia in the shadow of segregation influences her role as a judge. Wright attended school in Norfolk and spoke about her experience commuting across town to get to the primarily white school that she attended commenting that though it was not a traditional immigration experience, she felt that commuting to school in a drastically different neighborhood than her own was a type of immigration. Wright spend a year living in Switzerland with her family, an experience that has greatly affected her role in practicing law. Wright and her family did not speak German or French making communication complicated in Switzerland. It was this obstacle that influenced Wrights theory that the law should be accessible and easily understandable for everyone. “Every person with a basic education should be able to read a supreme court opinion and understand what it is saying,” she said.