Dorothy Wright Nelson
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit|
December 20, 1979 – January 1, 1995
|Appointed by||Jimmy Carter|
|Preceded by||Seat established|
|Succeeded by||Sidney Thomas|
September 30, 1928 |
San Pedro, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles
University of Southern California
Dorothy Wright Nelson (born September 20, 1928) is a United States federal judge.
Born in San Pedro, California, Nelson received an A.B. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1950, a J.D. from University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law in 1953, and an LL.M. from the University of Southern California Law School in 1956. She was a Research associate fellow, University of Southern California Law School from 1953 to 1956. She was in private practice in Los Angeles, California from 1954 to 1957. She was a member of the faculty of University of Southern California Law School from 1957 to 1980. She was an Instructor from 1957 to 1958. She was an Assistant professor from 1958 to 1961. She was an Associate professor from 1961 to 1967. She was an Associate dean from 1965 to 1967. She was an Interim dean from 1967 to 1969. She was a Professor from 1967 to 1980. She was a Dean from 1969 to 1980. She was an Adjunct professor of law, University of Southern California Law School from 1980 to the present.
Nelson is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In 1973 there was discussion she might be nominated to the US Supreme Court in the news. Nelson was nominated by President Jimmy Carter on September 28, 1979, to a new seat created by 92 Stat. 1629. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 19, 1979, and received her commission on December 20, 1979. She assumed senior status on January 1, 1995. See published an article in the South California Law Review. She is the author of a book on Judicial Administration by the West Lawbook company, "Judicial Administration and the Administration of Justice." 
Dorothy was married to James F. Nelson (1927-2011), a longtime Los Angeles Municipal Court judge whose career included high-profile preliminary hearings involving Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as the Night Stalker, and Cathy Evelyn Smith, who was charged in the death of comic John Belushi. She has two children, Frank, an immigration attorney, and Lorna, an addictions counselor, divorced from Tracy Smith.
She started and popularized mediation in US courts.
- Barth, Ilene (7 January 1973). "If a seat opens: Will Nixon choose a womna for the Supreme Court?". The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska). p. 88. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- Nelson, Dorothy W (1993-1994). "Introduction to the Effects of Gender in the Federal Courts: The Final Report of the Ninth Circuit Gender Bias Task Force". South California Law Review 67: 731–. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- Dorothy Wright Nelson at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
|New seat||Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit