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Justice Wright

Nebraska Supreme Court Justice John Wright

Nebraska Supreme Court Justice John Wright died Sunday following a lengthy illness. He was 72.

In a press release Monday, Chief Justice Mike Heavican said the justices of the Nebraska Supreme Court are deeply saddened by the announcement of his death.

"He was a much-loved member of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. His loss leaves a great void as our longest serving (24-years), most experienced member of the bench," Heavican said.

Wright had been on the Nebraska Supreme Court since 1994, and was on the Court of Appeals for three years before that.

He was in private practice in Scottsbluff for 21 years before being named to the appellate court.

Wright was one of the last remaining members of the state's highest court who was appointed by then-Gov. Ben Nelson, a Democrat. Now, only one remains: Justice Lindsey Miller-Lerman of Omaha.

The rest of the seven members were appointed either by then-Gov. Dave Heineman or current Gov. Pete Ricketts, both Republicans.

Wright's death means Ricketts will have made five appointments since becoming governor in 2015. He is currently considering four candidates to replace Max Kelch, who was also appointed by Ricketts but resigned after two years on the bench.

Wright is survived by his wife, Deborah, and four children.

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