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Constitutional law, civil procedure, legislation, federal courts


Caleb E. Nelson

Emerson G. Spies Distinguished Professor of Law
Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor

J.D., Yale Law School, 1993
A.B., Harvard University, 1988

Caleb Nelson teaches civil procedure, federal courts, statutory interpretation, and constitutional law. He joined the Virginia faculty as an associate professor in 1998 and became a full professor in 2003. In 2000, his article on federal preemption of state law won the Scholarly Papers Competition of the Association of American Law Schools. In 2006, he received the Paul M. Bator Award from the national Federalist Society. In 2008, he was one of the winners of Virginia’s All-University Teaching Award.

Nelson earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard, where he majored in mathematics, won the Wendell Prize, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. Before attending Yale Law School, he was managing editor of The Public Interest, a domestic-policy quarterly based in Washington, D.C. At Yale, Nelson won both the Edgar M. Cullen Prize for the best paper by a first-year student and the Joseph Parker Prize for the best paper on legal history; he also served as articles editor on the Yale Law Journal. After graduating, he clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court. From 1995 to 1998, he practiced law with the Cincinnati firm of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, where he focused on appellate litigation.

Scholarship Profile: Shedding New Light on Old Problems (Virginia Journal 2007)

Hide details for [<A HREF="C4888338932C96E5852566EF00728D67?OpenDocument&ExpandSection=1#_Section1">Publications</A>]Publications

"Civil Forfeiture and the Constitution," 125 Yale L.J. (forthcoming 2016).

"Avoiding Constitutional Questions Versus Avoiding Unconstitutionality," 128
Harv. L. Rev. Forum 331 (2015).

"The Legitimacy of (Some) Federal Common Law," 101
Va. L. Rev. 1 (2015).

“A Critical Guide to
Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins,” 54 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 921 (2013).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"State and Federal Models of t
he Interaction Between Statutes and Unwritten Law," 80 U. Chi. L. Rev. 657 (2013).
HeinOnline (PDF)

Statutory Interpretation (Foundation Press, University Casebook Series 2011).

"Judicial Review of Legislative Purpose," 83 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1784 (2008).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Adjudication in the Political Branches," 107 Colum. L. Rev. 559 (2007).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Persistence of General Law," 106 Colum. L. Rev. 503 (2006).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Statutory Interpretation and Decision Theory" at 74 U. Chi. L. Rev. 329 (2007) (reviewing Adrian Vermeule, Judging under Uncertainty (2006)).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"A Response to Professor Manning," 91 Va. L. Rev. 451 (2005).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"What Is Textualism?," 91 Va. L. Rev. 347 (2005).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Does History Defeat Standing Doctrine?" (with Ann Woolhandler), 102 Mich. L. Rev.689 (2004).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Originalism and Interpretive Conventions," 70 U. Chi. L. Rev. 519 (2003).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Sovereign Immunity as a Doctrine of Personal Jurisdiction," 115 Harv. L. Rev. 1559 (2002).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Treaty Power and Self-Execution: A Comment on Professor Woolhandler’s Article,” 42
Va. J. Int’l L. 801 (2002).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Stare Decisis and Demonstrably Erroneous Precedents," 87 Va. L. Rev. 1 (2001).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Preemption," 86 Va L. Rev. 225 (2000).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"A Re-evaluation of Scholarly Explanations for the Rise of the Elective Judiciary in Antebellum America," 37 Am. J. Legal Hist. 190 (1993).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Harvard's Hollow 'Core'," Atlantic Monthly, Sept. 1990, at 70.

"Bring Back the Old Math," Am. Spectator, Nov. 1989, at 36.

"The Paradox of the Exclusionary Rule," Pub. Int., Summer 1989, at 117.

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