Emerson G. Spies Distinguished Professor of Law
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)