Robert R. Wright, Donaghey Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at UALR, died Sunday night. Outspoken and brilliant, he was a long-time faculty member at UALR and an expert in land use law. His wife is federal Judge Susan Webber Wright, a relationship, which, combined with Bob’s love to talk, proved problematic now and then. From a New York Times profile of the judge, when she presided over Paula Jones’ case against Bill Clinton:
When his wife became a judge, Wright seemed to become unusually involved in her work. One of the lawyers in the long-running school desegregation case, which is also before Judge Wright, said that to his amazement, Wright once attended a meeting of parties in the suit — and sat in the jury box next to the court monitor in the case. Last spring he also sat in on a meeting of lawyers in the Jones case.
In a recent interview with The Washington Post, which Wright has since complained was off the record, he seemed to suggest that he has also participated in some of her rulings. But half a dozen local lawyers who know the Wrights said they had long viewed such comments as a reflection of his rather outsized ego rather than a sign that she needed a backup.