Legal blog shows SUNY Buffalo election law scholar’s wide impact


Published July 16, 2014

Professor James Gardner has been named in a recent scholarly survey aimed at identifying the ten most cited faculty for the period of 2009 through 2013 in the area of election law.

“It’s nice to know my work is being recognized and people are paying attention and it’s having an impact. ”
James Gardner, SUNY Distinguished Professor; Bridget and Thomas Black Professor
SUNY Buffalo Law School

Law review editors who do the exacting work of checking their articles’ citations of other scholars’ work see the same names pop up again and again. In the field of election law, a new study has tallied those citations to identify the ten faculty from all 200 ABA law schools whose work in election law has the most impact on their peers – and a SUNY Buffalo Law School professor is on the list.

SUNY Distinguished Professor James A. Gardner, a specialist in election law, was one of the most highly cited legal scholars working in this area. The ranking, reported by the influential Election Law Blog, shows that other scholars cited Gardner’s work about 320 times in articles published from 2009 to 2013. 

Other election law scholars on the list are at the law schools of New York University, Stanford, Columbia, Yale, the University of Southern California and the University of California-Irvine. Blogger Rick Hasen, a law professor at UC-Irvine, conducted the study, using Westlaw and other electronic resources.

“I’m gratified,” said Gardner, who holds the Bridget and Thomas Black professorship at SUNY Buffalo Law and has served as the school’s vice dean for academic affairs. “Most of the other people on the list are extremely prominent in the field. It’s nice to know my work is being recognized and people are paying attention and it’s having an impact. As academics we can spend a lot of time thinking and writing, but if it falls in the forest and doesn’t make a sound, it’s not accomplishing what we hope it will accomplish.”

Gardner received his B.A. from Yale University in 1980 and his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1984. From 1984 to 1988, he practiced law in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Before joining the SUNY Buffalo Law faculty in 2001, he taught at Western New England University, William and Mary, and the University of Connecticut.  Since then, he has been a visiting professor at Florida State University, and in 2012 held the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in the Theory and Practice of Constitutionalism and Federalism at McGill University in Montreal.

His research interests include the constitutional structure of politics, the institutionalization through law of principles of democracy, comparative and American federalism, and subnational constitutional law.

Gardner’s most recent books are Election Law in the American Political System (Aspen), What Are Campaigns For? The Role of Persuasion in Electoral Law and Politics (Oxford University Press) and a new revision of his Legal Argument: The Structure and Language of Effective Advocacy (LexisNexis).