The Republican-led Senate confirmed President Obama’s pick for federal judge, despite warnings from the conservative watchdog Heritage Action for America about her past writings characterizing former President Ronald Reagan and former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist as tolerant of bigotry. Wilhelmina Wright, 52, who currently serves as a Minnesota state supreme court justice, was nominated by Obama to become the first black U.S. District judge for the District of Minnesota, a lifetime appointment. The Senate, including key Republicans, like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. David Vitter, Kelly Ayotte, Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley, voted in favor of her confirmation, which came ultimately via a 58-36 vote.

But her past is dotted with murky political statements that drew a raised eyebrow from the Heritage Action for America, which pointed to her writings in 1989 in the UCLA Law Review while a student at Harvard Law School. One of her articles, for instance, blamed Rehnquist and Reagan for the movement of whites from inner-city communities and read, the Washington Examiner found: “Their mad scramble is aided by a chief justice who owned racially restrictive property and a presidential administration that believes bigotry, poverty and poor educational opportunities for most public school students are the unavoidable fruits of a ‘thriving’ free market economy.” FULL REPORT