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Stanford Law School named New York University School of Law professor Larry Kramer its new dean Wednesday. Kramer, 45, an associate dean for research and academics at NYU, replaces Kathleen Sullivan, who will return to teaching after a one-year sabbatical. Kramer is a constitutional law expert and the author of “The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review,” recently published by Oxford Press. The book argues that the U.S. Supreme Court has too much power in constitutional matters — that the public should have the authority to decide what the Constitution means and how it should be applied. “Larry Kramer is widely considered to be among the best and the brightest of the new generation of leaders in legal education,” Stanford Provost John Etchemendy said in a statement. “I am certain that he is the right person to build on the school’s tradition of excellence and take it to the next level.” Kramer studied religion and psychology at Brown University and is a 1984 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan before joining Chicago’s faculty in 1986. He taught law at the University of Michigan before joining NYU. “Stanford is an incredibly strong institution, and the opportunity to guide it is great,” Kramer said. “I’ve been at a number of other excellent schools that are different from Stanford, so I’ll be a source of new ideas and push people to think differently.” Kramer is known for taking time to help new students and explaining complex legal issues without jargon, said Stephen Gillers, vice dean at NYU law school. He said Kramer is somewhat liberal in his interpretation of constitutional law but shouldn’t be pigeonholed. “This is a man who has spent his life looking at the historical details of complex situations,” he said, adding that Kramer is “an exceptional teacher” with excellent student evaluations. Sullivan said Kramer will help Stanford keep on track with other top law schools. “In an increasingly competitive race to attract and retain the best faculty and students, his comparative experience will be invaluable,” she said. “[Kramer] brings strong academic values and exciting new ideas from his experience at three great law schools, where he has worked with a string of great deans,” she added. Etchemendy co-chaired the search committee with law professor Richard Craswell.

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