James W. Ely, Jr. is the Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law, Emeritus, and Professor of History, Emeritus, at Vanderbilt University. He has written about a wide range of topics in legal history and is the author of a number of books, including The Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property Rights (Oxford University Press, 3rd edition 2008), American Legal History: Cases and Materials (Oxford University Press, 5th edition 2017) (with Kermit L. Hall and Paul Finkelman), The Fuller Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy (ABC-CLIO 2003), Railroads and American Law (University Press of Kansas 2001), and The Chief Justiceship of Melville W. Fuller, 1888-1910 (University of South Carolina Press 1995, paperback edition 2012). His most recent book is The Contract Clause: A Constitutional History (University Press of Kansas, 2016). He has also written numerous articles dealing with the history of property rights. He served as assistant editor of the American Journal of Legal History from 1987 to 1999.