J. Skelly Wright

One of the D.C. Circuit’s most legendary judges wasn’t supposed to serve on the court at all. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy intended to elevate a federal judge in Louisiana, J. Skelly Wright, to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Wright had gained national attention for taking action to desegregate the New Orleans public schools despite resistance from local officials and threats to his and his family’s safety. When Louisiana’s U.S. Senators moved to block the nomination, the President named Wright to the D.C. Circuit instead.