Richard H. Fallon, Jr., Greatness in a Lower Federal Court Judge: the case of J. Skelly Wright (Special Issue Dedicated to Judge J. Skelly Wright), 61 Loyola L. Rev. 29 (2015).
Abstract: As much as - if not more than - any other lower federal court judge of his generation, J. Skelly Wright left large footsteps on the sands of time. As a district judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1949 to 1962, he took a courageous leading role in desegregating the New Orleans schools. Braving social ostracism, death threats, and a cross-burning on his lawn, he brought about "not only the integration of the public schools in New Orleans but also the integration of universities, buses, parks, sporting events and voting lists, historic moves that reverberated elsewhere in the South in the 1950s and 1960s, the era of the civil rights campaigns." As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1962 to 1988, Judge Wright wrote path-breaking opinions in a number of areas of the law. Many of his decisions attracted widespread academic commentary, most of it favorable but some critical. Welcoming the debates, Judge Wright published an accompanying stream of much-discussed articles in the nation's foremost law reviews. When Wright died in 1988, tributes described him as among "the outstanding jurists of the nation's history.