James A. Gardner

James A. Gardner.

James A. Gardner

James A. Gardner

SUNY Distinguished Professor
Bridget and Thomas Black Professor
Research Professor
Department of Political Science
College of Arts & Sciences

Research Interest

Election Law, Federalism, Law and Democratic Theory, State Constitutional Law


A member of the law faculty since 2001, Bridget and Thomas Black SUNY Distinguished Professor James A Gardner is a highly regarded specialist in constitutional and election law. He is a prolific scholar who has published six books and more than 60 articles and book chapters. According to Election Law Blog and Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports, Gardner is the 8th most frequently cited scholar in the field of election law.

Gardner’s books include 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 Legal Argument: The Structure and Language of Effective Advocacy (LexisNexis). His articles have appeared in Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Texas Law Review, International Journal of Constitutional Law, American Journal of Comparative Law, and many other venues.

He has taught at Western New England University, William and Mary, the University of Connecticut and Florida State University. In 2012, he held the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in the Theory and Practice of Constitutionalism and Federalism at McGill University in Montreal, and in 2015 was the Federalism Scholar in Residence at the European Academy’s Institute for Comparative Federalism in Bolzano, Italy. In 2018, he was Visiting Professor at the University of Barcelona.

Gardner served as interim dean from December, 2014, to June, 2017 and vice dean for academic affairs from 2005-2012.

Gardner received his BA 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.


  • University of Chicago Law School, J.D. 1984 University of Chicago Law Review; Vice President, Chicago Law Foundation
  • Yale University, B.A. 1980 Magna cum laude, with Distinction in the Major (Economics & Political Science)