Wright is the first justice appointed by a DFL Governor in more than two decades. She served as an at-large Judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals, after being appointed in 2002 by Gov. Jesse Ventura. Prior to her appointment, Wright served as a District Court Judge in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Economic Crime and Major Crimes Sections.
She currently serves on the Minnesota Judicial Council’s Committee for Equality and Justice, the Minnesota Women Lawyers Advisory Board and the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs Advisory Council.
Judge Wright was elected to the American Law Institute in 2008. She received the Myra Bradwell Award in 2006 from the Minnesota Women Lawyers, the Lena O. Smith Achievement Award from the Black Women Lawyers Network in 2004, the B. Warren Hart Award for Public Service from the Saint Paul Jaycees in 2001, and the Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans Award in 2000. In 2011, Judge Wright also received the Girls Scouts River Valleys Women of Distinction Award.
Judge Wright lives in St. Paul with her husband Dan Schmechel and their daughter Kathryn.
She was one of four finalists named for the spot to replace retiring Justice Helen Meyer. Attorney David Lillehaug, Court of Appeals Judge Margaret H. Chutich and Hennepin County District Court Judge Tanya M. Bransford were the other finalists.