Gardner, James A. 1959–
Gardner, James A. 1959–
Born 1959. Education: Yale University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1980; University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1984. Hobbies and other interests: "Professional quality jazz pianist; mediocre tennis player."
Lawyer and educator. Called to the bars of New York, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, Civil Division, lawyer, 1984-88; College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, Williamsburg, VA, visiting professor of law, 1988-2001; Western New England College, School of Law, Springfield, MA, assistant professor, 1988-91, associate professor, 1991-93; University of Connecticut, School of Law, Storrs, visiting professor of law, fall, 1994; State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Law, professor, 2001—, Edwin F. Jaeckle Center for State and Local Democracy, director, 2005—, Joseph W. Belluck and Laura L. Aswad Professor of Civil Justice, 2005—, vice dean for academic affairs, 2008—.
Chicago Law Foundation (vice president), Association of American Law Schools, American Political Science Association, International Association of Subnational Constitutional Law, United States Association of Constitutional Law, American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, Association for Political Theory.
Legal Argument: The Structure and Language of Effective Advocacy, Michie (Charlottesville, VA), 1993.
(Editor and author of introduction) State Expansion of Federal Constitutional Liberties: Individual Rights in a Dual Constitutional System, two volumes, Garland (New York, NY), 1999.
Interpreting State Constitutions: A Jurisprudence of Function in a Federal System, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Legal Argument: The Structure and Language of Effective Advocacy, LexisNexis Matthew Bender (Newark, NJ), 2007.
Contributor of articles to various law reviews and journals, including the Buffalo Law Review, Georgetown Law Review, William and Mary Law Review, Iowa Law Review, Fordham Law Review, and the Election Law Journal.
James A. Gardner was educated at Yale University, graduating magna cum laude with distinction in 1980 with an undergraduate degree. From there he went on to complete his education at the University of Chicago Law School, earning his J.D. in 1984. Between his graduation and 1988, Gardner worked as a lawyer for the United States Department of Justice, in the Civil Division, located in Washington, DC. He then went on to teach at a number of law schools, including Western New England College, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Connecticut. Eventually he moved to the law school for the State University of New York in Buffalo. He joined the faculty in 2001 as a professor of law, then became the director of the Edwin F. Jaeckle Center for State and Local Democracy, and Joseph W. Belluck and Laura L. Aswad Professor of Civil Justice, both in 2005. In 2008, he was named vice dean for academic affairs. Gardner's primary areas of research and academic interest include the ways that states interpret the letter of their constitutions, the constitutional structure of politics and the theories related to its foundation, and ways in which principles of democratic theory can be applied to institutions using the law. In addition to his academic endeavors, Gardner is a regular contributor of articles to legal reviews and journals, including the Buffalo Law Review, Georgetown Law Review, William and Mary Law Review, Iowa Law Review, Fordham Law Review, and the Election Law Journal. He is also the author of several books, including Legal Argument: The Structure and Language of Effective Advocacy, and Interpreting State Constitutions: A Jurisprudence of Function in a Federal System, as well as State Expansion of Federal Constitutional Liberties: Individual Rights in a Dual Constitutional System, for which he served as editor and wrote the introduction.
Interpreting State Constitutions, published in 2005, addresses the question of how much power the individual states actually hold versus the power that is wielded by the federal government, and how hard the states can push to stretch the power that they are allotted. Over a period of several decades, there has been an increase in the amount of power that the president uses, a change that is the result of a number of Republican presidents insisting on pushing the envelope, making choices and decisions that might previously have been considered outside the jurisdiction of the executive office. In retaliation, or at least in self-defense, the Democrats have been forced to press for stronger action by the individual states in order to counterbalance the actions taken by the president and as a means of maintaining a measure of balance between party agendas as well. This unofficial policy became obvious for the first time in the 1970s, when the conservative judgments of Nixon-appointed Justices Warren E. Burger and William H. Rehnquist began to make themselves known. Taking advantage of "new judicial federalism," the courts at the state level found themselves handing down rulings that would stand up for the individual rights of their citizens, rather than upholding the stricter statutes laid down by the Supreme Court. Since 1970, the individual state courts have broadened the rights of individuals in this manner, in contradiction to the Supreme Court, a total of 400 times at the writing of Gardner's book. Gardner takes an in-depth look at this phenomenon, and goes on to analyze the level at which the state courts are making these decisions. It is his suggestion that the state courts could be more aggressive still in their stance against the hijacking of personal rights at the federal level. Likewise, they still allow too many federal rulings to hold sway over their own courts, rather than allowing the new judicial federalism to take over on a more widespread basis. It is the duty of the state courts, according to Gardner, to serve as a form of check against the abuse of power at the federal level that, in his estimation, is sometimes exhibited by the Supreme Court. Stephen B. Pershing, in a contribution for Trial, remarked that "the book is a meaningful contribution not just to the reading of state constitutions, but also to reflection on constitutions in general, and to the unfolding relationships between and among bodies of organic law that keep our many-layered republic alive." John Kincaid, writing for the Political Science Quarterly, commented that Gardner "does not articulate clear, rational criteria for how state courts would decide whether and why federal rights rulings threaten liberty," a lack of clarity that Kincaid found "disappointing." Overall, however, he found Gardner's book to be "fascinating." A contributor for the Harvard Law Review dubbed the book "a valuable resource for scholars, judges, and advocates concerned with the role state constitutions have to play in protecting substantive rights."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Buffalo Law Review, May, 2006, Jim Rossi, review of Interpreting State Constitutions: A Jurisprudence of Function in a Federal System, p. 211.
CBA Record, January, 2006, Nick Dranias, review of Interpreting State Constitutions, p. 55.
Harvard Law Review, April, 2006, review of Interpreting State Constitutions, p. 1946.
Law and Politics Book Review, October, 2005, Steven Puro, review of Interpreting State Constitutions, p. 900.
Political Science Quarterly, summer, 2006, John Kincaid, review of Interpreting State Constitutions.
Trial, January, 2006, Stephen B. Pershing, review of Interpreting State Constitutions, p. 68.
State University of New York at Buffalo Law School Web site,http://www.law.buffalo.edu/ (April 17, 2008), faculty profile.