Remembering Charles Alan Wright

By Powers, William, Jr. | Texas Law Review, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Remembering Charles Alan Wright


Powers, William, Jr., Texas Law Review


We suffered a tremendous loss with the death of Charles Alan Wright on July 7, 2000. For more than forty-five years, he was the nation's leading authority on the federal courts and the United States Constitution. We miss him.

Charlie was undoubtedly our greatest professor. Indeed, he was the greatest legal academic of his generation. More than that, he was a good and decent person. He was a loyal friend and colleague. He was a true gentleman.

Harry Reasoner, managing partner of Vinson & Elkins and President of the Law School Foundation Board of Trustees, said of Charlie that "no one has done more to make it [UT] a great national law school than he has. "

Dean Michael Sharlot once said,

He is sui generis. It is impossible to say enough about him and his truly remarkable achievements. He is the paradigm of the American lawyer-scholar. His career has defied the trend toward increasingly narrow specialization and has brilliantly illustrated how the legally trained mind can be put to the service of his profession, community, and nation. Even on modified service he remains the most distinguished and esteemed member of a great faculty. No one has done more to the improvement of the administration of justice, of our understanding of federal practice and procedure, and in making this school one of the premier law schools in the United States.1

All of that is true, and so much more.

Charlie officially retired in 1997, but he continued to teach half time and to hold the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts. His great scholarly achievement is Federal Practice and Procedure, a fifty-volume reference work on federal courts. It is cited so heavily, as Professor Doug Laycock once wrote, "because its persuasive authority is accepted, and because its explanations of complicated matters are so lucid."2 In Reasoner's words, Charlie "had a majestic command of the law and the English language."3

Charlie's distinguished reputation rests in part on his appearances before the United States Supreme Court. He won ten of the twelve cases he personally argued. Several were milestones. He represented Texas in two cases. He was easily the most sought after counsel in matters before the Supreme Court.

Charlie also gained prominence as a member of the American Law Institute, the most important legal reform organization in the country. Elected to the Institute at the age of thirty-one, he soon became active on its governing group, the ALI Council. In 1993 he became the first academic to serve as the Institute's President. Three Chief Justices appointed him to the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He also served on the Permanent Committee for the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court and the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1984, and was among 16 professors named in 1999 as corresponding fellows of the British Academy, Britain's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.

Charlie was born in Philadelphia, graduated from Wesleyan University in 1947, and graduated from the Yale Law School in 1949. He clerked for Judge Charles E. Clark on the Second Circuit before joining the law faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1951. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Remembering Charles Alan Wright
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.