Charles Alan Wright
Charles Alan Wright was an American constitutional lawyer widely considered to be the foremost authority in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 on constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

 and federal procedure
Procedural law
Procedural law or adjective law comprises the rules by which a court hears and determines what happens in civil lawsuit, criminal or administrative proceedings. The rules are designed to ensure a fair and consistent application of due process or fundamental justice to all cases that come before...

, and was the coauthor of the 54-volume treatise, Federal Practice and Procedure with Arthur Miller
Arthur R. Miller
Arthur Raphael Miller is a leading scholar in the field of American civil procedure and a University Professor at New York University. Before that he was the Bruce Bromley Professor of Law at Harvard Law School , after being on the faculties of the University of Michigan and the University of...

 and Kenneth W. Graham, Jr., among others.

Born in Philadelphia in 1927, Wright earned his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college founded in 1831 and located in Middletown, Connecticut. According to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Wesleyan is the only Baccalaureate College in the nation that emphasizes undergraduate instruction in the arts and...

 in 1947 and law degree from Yale
RapidMiner, formerly YALE , is an environment for machine learning, data mining, text mining, predictive analytics, and business analytics. It is used for research, education, training, rapid prototyping, application development, and industrial applications...

 in 1949. Wright taught at the University of Minnesota Law School
University of Minnesota Law School
The University of Minnesota Law School, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, is a professional school of the University of Minnesota. The school offers a Juris Doctor , Masters of Law for Foreign Lawyers, and joint degrees with J.D./M.B.A., J.D./M.P.A, J.D./M.A., J.D./M.S., J.D./Ph.D.,...

 from 1950 to 1955 and at the University of Texas School of Law
University of Texas School of Law
The University of Texas School of Law, also known as UT Law, is an ABA-certified American law school located on the University of Texas at Austin campus. The law school has been in operation since the founding of the University in 1883. It was one of only two schools at the University when it was...

 from 1955 until his death in 2000.

Professor Wright was a popular, if somewhat eccentric, educator, conducting class without lecture notes or even a copy of the casebook. He had a photographic memory of the materials and would often answer student questions with a correct citation, by specific page, of a case different from the one the class was studying. He always refused to call on women students, unless they volunteered, considering the traditional Socratic approach ungentlemanly to women. In response to accusations of sexism, he simply stopped requiring any student to recite unless he or she volunteered. Professor Wright's icy reserve with students disappeared completely after they graduated and joined the Bar. Many of them were pleasantly surprised to experience his warmth, kindness, gentle humor and interest in their families.

He was elected a member of the American Law Institute
American Law Institute
The American Law Institute was established in 1923 to promote the clarification and simplification of American common law and its adaptation to changing social needs. The ALI drafts, approves, and publishes Restatements of the Law, Principles of the Law, model codes, and other proposals for law...

 at the age of 30, and served as its president for the last seven years of his life, from 1993 to 2000.

Professor Wright organized an effective boycott of the Faculty Club at the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

 when operators failed to live up to their promise that the club would not be racially segregated
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...


Wright was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...


Wright represented President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 on constitutional issues growing out of the Watergate investigations
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

 by Congress and the special prosecutor. For a time he clearly appeared to be the President's lead lawyer, but then there was a shuffling of responsibilities, and he did not argue the case in the Supreme Court.

Wright was an active litigator before the U.S. Supreme Court. Associate Justice
Associate Justice
Associate Justice or Associate Judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the Chief Justice in some jurisdictions. The title "Associate Justice" is used for members of the United States Supreme Court and some state supreme courts, and for some other courts in Commonwealth...

 Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice and the first Jewish female justice.She is generally viewed as belonging to...

 once described Wright as "a Colossus standing at the summit of our profession." A former student teasingly suggested the diminutive Ginsburg was actually referring to Wright's 6-3 height. The politically liberal
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 Ginsburg also referred to Wright, a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, as "the quintessential friend." By the end of his life, Wright was on a first-name basis with all nine justices.

Wright was also involved in both intramural and intercollegiate athletics. Wright served on the NCAA Committee on Infractions from 1973 until 1983, including five years as chair. At the University of Texas, Wright's achievements extended beyond the classroom and courtroom: Wright led the Legal Eagles – a stunningly successful intramural football team – to 330 wins during his 45 year involvement as coach and athletic director. He was also a member of the committee that was formed to hire a new head football coach of the University of Texas in 1997, eventually hiring Mack Brown
Mack Brown
William Mack Brown is head coach of The University of Texas at Austin Longhorn football team.Prior to his head coach position at Texas, Brown was head coach at Appalachian State, Tulane, and North Carolina. Brown is credited with revitalizing the Texas and North Carolina football programs...


External links

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