Person

Larry Kramer

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Attorney and foundation executive

Location:

Los Altos, CA

Larry Kramer is a left-of-center attorney, former law professor, and nonprofit executive who since 2012 has been president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, one of the nation’s largest private grant making foundations.

Kramer has overseen the foundation as it has continued to be among the largest funders of left-of-center advocacy groups and nonprofits in the United States and has expanded the foundations giving further into advocacy-related areas. Kramer previously worked as a law professor at New York University and Stanford, serving as the Dean of Stanford Law School during his time there. His academic writings include a book, The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review, which effectively calls for an end to the U.S. Supreme Court role as the arbiter of constitutionality. [1] [2]

Background and Education

Larry Kramer attended high school in the Chicago area and completed undergraduate studies at Brown University. He attended the University of Chicago Law School and was a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for Judge Henry Friendly and then for Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, a member of the court’s liberal wing and namesake of the left-of-center Brennan Center for Justice. [3]

Following his clerkships, Kramer was a law professor at the University of Chicago for four years followed by another four-year stint as a law professor at the University of Michigan. He then spent ten years as a law professor at New York University before being hired as the Dean of Stanford Law School in 2004, where he held the Richard E. Lang Professorship. While at Stanford, Kramer was credited with expanding or creating legal centers at the school focusing on social justice, public service, and international legal training. [4] [5]

Hewlett Foundation

In 2012, Larry Kramer was announced as the president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the philanthropic vehicle for the late Hewlett-Packard cofounder William Hewlett and his wife Flora, which ranks consistently among the ten largest grant making foundations in the United States. Kramer took over the role from Paul Brest, who himself had been a former dean of Stanford Law. Kramer continued Brest’s vision for “strategic philanthropy” while at the Hewlett Foundation, which has steered much of the organization funding to left-leaning causes and organizations. [6] Kramer’s stated goals upon taking the reins of the foundation in 2012 were that “By retirement I want to have prevented global warming and saved democratic government.” [7] [8]

Kramer sits on the boards of the National Constitution Center, Independent Sector, and the ClimateWorks Foundation. [9]

Kramer earns an annual salary of $896,000 from the Hewlett Foundation as of 2020. [10]

Writings

Throughout his career, particularly during his long career as a law professor, Kramer wrote multiple books and many more academic articles. His most notable work was titled The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review, wherein Kramer details a “provocative” view of the concept of judicial review and contends that the practice of the U.S. Supreme Court determining the constitutionality of an issue should be eliminated and replaced with a final “review by the American public.” [11]

References

  1. “Larry Kramer Biography.” The White House. 2021. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Kramer-bio.pdf ^
  2. Serota, Michael. “Book Review: Larry D. Kramer’s ‘The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review.’” SSRN. May 27, 2010. Accessed April 12, 2022.  https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1617341 ^
  3. “Larry Kramer.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/larry-kramer-2383a8110/ ^
  4. Larry Kramer ’84 Named President of Hewlett Foundation.” University of Chicago Law School. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/larry-kramer-84-named-president-hewlett-foundation ^
  5. “Larry Kramer.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/larry-kramer-2383a8110/ ^
  6. “Larry Kramer’s Hewlett Foundation Has a Brain. Does It Have a Heart, Too?” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2014/8/5/larry-kramers-hewlett-foundation-has-a-brain-does-it-have-a.html ^
  7. Farewell Larry Kramer.” Stanford Law School. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://law.stanford.edu/stanford-lawyer/articles/farewell-larry-krame/ ^
  8. “Larry Kramer ’84 Named President of Hewlett Foundation.” University of Chicago Law School. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/larry-kramer-84-named-president-hewlett-foundation ^
  9. “Larry Kramer.” Hewlett Foundation. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://hewlett.org/people/larry-kramer/ ^
  10. “William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990), 2020 ^
  11. Serota, Michael. “Book Review: Larry D. Kramer’s ‘The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review.’” SSRN. May 27, 2010. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1617341 ^

Connected Organizations

  1. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (Non-profit)
    President
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