[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.

MERC Decision Publicized in State Media

MEA's "August Window" ruled illegal by commission … more

MEA’s ‘August Window’ ruled Illegal; union must change bylaws and accept resignations

‘Other government unions should take heed...’ … more

MEA Opt Out Address Change Featured in State and National Media

Teachers wishing to opt out of union must use little-known P.O. box … more

MEA Changes Opt-out Address, Keeps Members in the Dark

Michigan Education Association’s Latest Trick to Lock Workers in a Dues Cage … more

MERC to Find August Window Illegal

Wright Discusses Right-to-Work Decision with State Media

Michigan Supreme Court extends right-to-work to state employees … more

Michigan Supreme Court Upholds Right-to-Work for State Employees

Accepting Mackinac Center Legal Foundation argument, justices decide 4 to 3 that Michigan Constitution prohibits agency fees for state workers … more

Mackinac Legal Expert Quoted in Detroit News

Examining the implications of new Supreme Court case … more

United States Supreme Court to Hear Case That Could Declare Agency Fees for Public Employees Unconstitutional

Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Filed Amicus Brief Asking Court to Hear Case … more

Lawsuit Leads to Rights Recognition

Four Saginaw Teachers Stand Up and Win

Harris v. Quinn

On the Case: Right-to-Work

Union's Specious Claim in Indiana RTW Case

Trying to use anti-slavery clause to deny worker freedom. … more

Prop 2 Supporters Misled on Other States

No other state allows collective bargaining to trump state law. … more

Proposal 2 of 2012: An Assessment

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently published “Proposal 2 of 2012: An Assessment,” which addresses Proposal 2 on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot, also referred to as the “collective bargaining” amendment.
The study examines how the proposed constitutional amendment would enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution, which would allow government union collective bargaining agreements to invalidate numerous state laws meant to improve the quality of public services and would likely negate a projected $1.6 billion in annual taxpayer savings.
The Policy Brief was co-authored by Vernuccio and other Mackinac Center analysts: Senior Legal Analyst Patrick J. Wright, Executive Vice President Michael J. Reitz and Assistant Fiscal Policy Director James M. Hohman. Also co-authoring was Paul Kersey, director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. … more

A Welcome First Step in Holland

City council grants temporary permit for hot dog cart. … more

Supreme Court Rules Unions Can't Take Extra Fees Without Consent

Constitutional Pension Reform, 50 Years On

Collective Bargaining Initiative Is About Power, Not Rights

Justices' Questions Provide Insight In Obamacare Debate

Loar v. Michigan Department of Human Services Brief

This booklet contains the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s final legal filing in a nationally known case involving the illegal unionization of Michigan’s home-based day care business owners and providers as government employees. Wright argued the case in the Michigan courts on behalf of Sherry Loar, Michelle Berry and Paulette Silverson, who each own home-based day care businesses.
The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation sued to end the DHS' illegal diversion of so-called "union dues" from state subsidy checks received by home-based day care providers who watch children from low-income families. The "dues" were funneled to a government-employee union that purports to represent more than 40,000 of Michigan's home-based day care providers, who are actually private business owners and independent contractors.
The case was ruled moot by the Michigan Supreme Court after the DHS ceased to collect the dues and the DHS director stated that these home-based day care providers are not public employees. … more

Legislature Should End Abusive Public-Sector Unionizations

Back-to-School Daze

FOIA Law Enhances Center’s Research and Reporting

Law Regarding Prohibited Subjects of Collective Bargaining Needs Updated

FOIA Law Enhances Center's Research and Reporting

Freedom of Information Act requests tend to be fairly routine and innocuous, in a procedural sense. A recent Mackinac Center FOIA request, however, has drawn some media attention. The Center has a long history of using this important tool for monitoring our government and has no intention of curtailing that use in the future. … more

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

Litigation Backgrounder: Loar v. DHS

Taking Liberties

President’s Merit Pay Idea Merits Attention

Digging Ourselves a Deeper Hole

'Hobbes vs. Locke': The battle continues

Public Education: Time for Change Based on the Merits

A merit-pay program for Michigan's public schools would reward teachers based on student achievement, rather than longevity and advanced degrees. … more

Teacher Merit-Pay Plan Gaining Popularity

The Merits of the Case