Judge Merideth Wright joined ELI as a Distinguished Judicial Scholar in February 2012. Judge Wright serves as a critically important addition to ELI’s judicial education program and, more broadly, to its rule of law efforts.
Judge Wright retired in 2011 as one of the two environmental judges for the State of Vermont. She had presided over the Vermont Environmental Court ( now known as the Environmental Division of the Vermont Superior Court)since its creation in 1990. A specialized court with jurisdiction over environmental enforcement cases as well as those involving state and local environmental and land use permitting decisions, the Court is the only judicial branch environmental court with state-wide jurisdiction in the country. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Wright worked for nine years in the Environmental section of the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, and as a staff attorney for the Vermont Supreme Court. Before moving to Vermont in 1978, she worked for the U.S. EPA, for a small Washington, D.C. law firm, and for a prosecutor’s office. Judge Wright earned her J.D. degree in 1974 from the University of Chicago and her B.A. degree in 1971, magna cum laude, from Yale University, in an independent Environmental Studies major.
She has taught courses at the Vermont Law School, the University of Vermont, and Pace University School of Law, and has given presentations on judicial and environmental topics at international and U.S. conferences.
Most recently, she has worked with the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law, together with U.S and Chinese judges and professors, on developing a curriculum for Chinese judicial education on environmental topics, and presented on specialized environmental courts at an international conference on environmental enforcement and compliance and at an international working symposium on environmental adjudication. She has been working internationally with judges and other environmental law scholars and professionals towards the development of a global institute for judges and the environment. Since 2003, Wright has consulted with and given presentations to judges, lawyers, government officials, and legal scholars on topics relating to environmental judicial work and the rule of law, including in Jamaica, China, Australia, England, Scotland, Sweden, and France.