James W. Ely, Jr. is the Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law Emeritus and Professor of History Emeritus at Vanderbilt University. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia and his L.L.B. from Harvard University.
Professor Ely is a renowned legal historian and property rights expert whose career accomplishments were recognized with both the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize and the Owner Counsel of American Crystal Eagle Award in 2006. His books include The Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property Rights, The Fuller Court: Justices, Rulings and Legacy and Railroads and American Law. He has also served as an editor of both the second edition of the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court and the second edition of the Oxford Guide to Supreme Court Decisions. Professor Ely received the Tennessee History Book Award for 2002 for A History of the Tennessee Supreme Court and between 1987 and 1999, he served as an editor of the American Journal of Legal History.