J. Skelly Wright

J. Skelly Wright

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J. Skelly Wright

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James Skelly Wright (January 14, 1911 - August 6, 1988) was a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and anti-segregationist. The J. Skelly Wright Professorship at Yale Law School, currently held by Heather Gerken, is named in his honor.

Early life and education

Wright was born in 1911 in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lived for much of his early life. Wright attended Loyola University New Orleans where he received his undergraduate in 1932, and the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law where he received his law degree in 1936. While attending Loyola he was a member of Alpha Delta Gamma National Catholic Fraternity.

Career as a District Court judge

Prior to his appointment in the US Court of Appeals, Judge Wright served at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1949 to 1962, where he was an important leader in the battle for the desegregation of New Orleans area schools. In 1960, he struck down twenty-nine segregation laws passed by the state legislature, which had also named a committee headed by then Representative Risley C. Triche of Napoleonville to take over operation of Orleans Parish public schools. Wright's first desegregation order had been for the Louisiana State University Law School in 1951. His vigorous enforcement of Brown v. Board of Education, however, made him many enemies amongst the predominately...
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