Published December 16, 2014
By John DellaContrada
SUNY Distinguished Professor James A. Gardner has been named interim dean of SUNY Buffalo Law School, UB Provost Charles F. Zukoski announced today.
Gardner is the Bridget and Thomas Black Professor in the Law School, a designation he will retain while serving as interim dean. His appointment is effective Dec. 20.
Gardner succeeds Makau W. Mutua, who will return to his faculty role in the law school as SUNY Distinguished Professor of Law and Floyd H. and Hilda Hurst Faculty Scholar. Mutua served as dean of the school for seven years, 2008-2014.
“I am grateful to Professor Gardner for his willingness to serve as interim dean during this transitional period,” Zukoski said. “We are evaluating the appropriate timing for an international search for the next dean and will keep the campus apprised of our plans.”
A member of the UB faculty since 2001, Gardner is a highly regarded specialist in constitutional and election law. He is a prolific scholar who has published six books, as well as numerous book chapters, articles and review essays. Gardner recently was recognized as one of the 10 most frequently cited scholars in the field of election law by the influential Election Law blog.
He has served as the director of the law school’s Jaeckle Center for Law, Democracy, and Governance and formerly served as the school’s vice dean for academic affairs, 2005-2012.
Since October, Gardner has served as the elected chair of the Law School’s ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee, which was charged with evaluating the current state of the school and identifying strategies to preserve and enhance its strengths moving forward.
Gardner’s research interests include the constitutional structure of politics, the institutionalization through law of principles of democracy, comparative and American federalism, and subnational constitutional law.
His 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).
He has taught at Western New England University, William and Mary, the University of Connecticut and 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.
Gardner received his BA from Yale University in 1980 and his JD 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.