[Photo of Patrick J. Wright]

Patrick J. Wright

Vice President for Legal Affairs

Patrick Wright is Vice President for Legal Affairs at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, where he directs the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. He joined the Center in June 2005 after serving for three years as a Michigan Supreme Court commissioner, a post in which he made recommendations to the court concerning which state appeals court cases it should hear.

Prior to that, Wright spent four years as an assistant attorney general for the State of Michigan, where he gained significant litigation and appellate advocacy experience. He joined the state Attorney General’s Office after one year as a policy advisor in the Senate Majority Policy Office of the Michigan Senate. Wright also spent two years as a law clerk to Hon. H. Russell Holland, a United States district court judge in Alaska.

Wright received his law degree at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He graduated with honors in 1994. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Michigan in 1990.

Wright lives in Chelsea, Mich., with his wife and sons.

MEA Lawsuit on Retiree Health Benefits Misguided

Chetly Zarko v. Howell Education Association

(Editor's note: This case resulted in a disastrous Michigan Court of Appeals ruling that held that the emails sought under a Freedom of Information Act request were essentially personal records, not public records, and therefore beyond the reach of FOIA. The decision severely weakened the state’s FOIA law and thwarted disclosure of improper activity by public employees. Because the Michigan Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of the decision, the ruling can be corrected now only by the Legislature or by the Michigan Supreme Court in a future case.)
A lower court's interpretation of what constitutes a "public record" under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act would shield criminal and other improper government activities from public scrutiny, according to this "friend of the court" brief jointly submitted to the Michigan Supreme Court by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Michigan Press Association.
Click here to download the PDF of this amicus brief. This news release explains the context of the case.
Following the filing of this brief, the Mackinac Center and MPA have submitted two supplemental briefs to the Court. The first alerted the Court to a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling that is relevant to this case. The second supplemental brief brings up recent examples of how the Appeals Court’s disastrous ruling has been used by school districts to deny FOIA requests and potentially hide improper activities. Read the news release for more information.
The Mackinac Center's original amicus brief for the Appeals Court hearing of this case, then named Howell Education Association v. Howell Board of Education, is available here… more

NFIB Files Brief in Support of Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Case

The illegal shanghaiing of home-based day care providers into a government employees union has attracted the attention of the Small Business Legal Center at the National Federation of Independent Business. It filed an amicus brief with the Michigan Supreme Court requesting that the Court grant the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation's appeal in the Loar v. DHS lawsuit challenging the forced unionization. … more

Eroding rights?

Cheating a rigged game

Howell Education Association v. Howell Board of Education

Just what constitutes a public record? Are documents created by a public official on a public computer system “public records” under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act? In this "friend of the court" brief, Mackinac Senior Legal Analyst Patrick J. Wright argues the answer is “yes” and warns that a failure to readily disclose such documents would seriously undermine FOIA's value. … more

Property Takings by a Court Are Still Property Takings

A Supreme Court case being heard today could impact Michigan property owners. … more

Punishing the Good Neighbor

Lisa Snyder has watched (without compensation) a five-year old kindergartener for her widowed neighbor and a seven-year old boy for another neighbor for a short period of time as they wait for the school bus. The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) made national news by demanding that she become a licensed day care provider. But what has largely been overlooked is that if Ms. Snyder were to go through the licensing process, she would thereby become a member of a purported government employees’ union. … more