Early Life and Education
Nelson is the son of David Aldrich Nelson, a former judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Mary Nelson. He grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where he attended Shaker Heights High School, graduating as class valedictorian. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University in 1988 with an A.B. in mathematics. Nelson then moved to Washington, D.C. where he served as the managing editor of The Public Interest, a domestic-policy quarterly. In 1993, he graduated from Yale Law School. During his legal education, Nelson was an Articles Editor for the Yale Law Journal and won numerous academic prizes, including the Joseph Parker Prize for the best paper in legal history and the Edgar M. Cullen Prize for the best paper by a first-year student.
After graduating from Yale, Nelson clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and then for Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States. Nelson then spent three years as a litigation associate at the firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Cincinnati. In 1998, Nelson joined the law faculty at the University of Virginia. As a professor, Nelson focuses his teaching and research on federal courts, constitutional law, legislation, and civil procedure. Nelson is the author of the highly cited article "Preemption", which appeared in March 2000 issue of the Virginia Law Review.
- Nelson, Caleb (1993), "A Re-Evaluation of Scholarly Explanations of the Rise of the Elective Judiciary in Antebellum America", The American Journal of Legal History 37 (2): 190–224.
- Nelson, Caleb (2000), "Preemption", Virginia Law Review 86 (2): 225–305.
- Nelson, Caleb (2001), "Stare Decisis and Demonstrably Erroneous Precedents", Virginia Law Review 87 (1): 1–84.
- Nelson, Caleb (2002), "Sovereign Immunity as a Doctrine of Personal Jurisdiction", Harvard Law Review 115 (6): 1559, doi:10.2307/1342562.
- Nelson, Caleb (2003), "Originalism and Interpretive Conventions", The University of Chicago Law Review 70 (2): 519–598, doi:10.2307/1600589.
- Woolhandler, Ann; Nelson, Caleb (2004), "Does History Defeat Standing Doctrine?", Michigan Law Review 104 (2): 689–733.
- Nelson, Caleb (2006), "The Persistence of General Law", Columbia Law Review 106 (3): 503–568.
- Nelson, Caleb (2007), "Adjudication in the Political Branches", Columbia Law Review 107 (3): 559–627.
Awards and Honors
- Winner of the Scholarly Papers Competition, Association of American Law Schools (2000)
- Paul M. Bator Award, the Federalist Society (2006)
- University of Virginia McFarland Award (2006)
- University of Virginia All-University Teaching Award (2008)
- "Caleb E. Nelson". University of Virginia School of Law. Retrieved 17 October 2013.