1938 – He was born on the 3rd day of December this year in New York City. He graduated from Princeton University and Yale Law School.
1968 – He joined the faculty of Yale Law School in this year, and moving to Harvard Law School in 1973, Ely wrote several influential law review articles, including a highly critical analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade in an article entitled "The Wages of Crying Wolf," published in the Yale Law Journal.
1980 – Ely’s most notable work, however, was his book Democracy and Distrust, which ranks as one of the most influential works about Constitutional law ever written.
1982 – He went on to serve as dean of Stanford Law School from this year to 1987, and remained on the faculty until 1996.
1996 – Prompted by his love of scuba diving, he moved to the University of Miami (School of Law) in this year and was on its faculty until the time of his death.
2003 – He died of cancer on the 25th day of December this year at age 64.