John E. Kramer
Vice President for Communications
John Kramer’s strategic media relations work—coupled with IJ’s litigation—is credited with protecting homeowners and small businesses nationwide from eminent domain abuse as well as securing the rights of entrepreneurs to earn an honest living when the government sought to shut them out. Kramer worked in the court of public opinion to help ensure that First Amendment protections extended to the Internet. He has applied the media’s bully pulpit to unite foster children with loving adoptive families when state bureaucrats refused to grant adoptions based on the practice of “race matching.”
Applying market-based principles, he has helped the Institute for Justice personalize, humanize and dramatize its stories of individual liberty to the mainstream media. Kramer directed the media relations in six landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases:
- Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, in which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of school choice;
- Swedenburg v. Kelly, in which the Supreme Court vindicated economic liberty by permitting the interstate shipment of wine directly to consumers;
- Kelo v. City of New London, the eminent domain case which led to a nationwide backlash against this often-abused power of government;
- District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Supreme Court struck down D.C.’s ban on hand guns and held that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for private use;
- Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, in which the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s school choice tax credit program and ruled that state residents do not have a right to challenge a state tax credit simply because they pay taxes; and
- Arizona Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, in which the Supreme Court struck down the “matching funds” provision of Arizona’s campaign finance “Clean Elections” Act as an unconstitutional violation of free speech.
Kramer lectures nationwide on the fundamentals of media relations, including at the Institute’s conferences. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, among other news outlets. His media relations work and video script writing for the Institute for Justice has earned him some of the top awards given by the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators and other organizations. A billboard campaign, which he directed that is credited with saving 60 buildings and more than 120 businesses in downtown Pittsburgh from the abuse of eminent domain, won the Outdoor Advertising Association of America’s silver medal for Best Media Plan. His work spotlighting eminent domain abuse earned a feature by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. Kramer was featured as a “Voice of Authority” on public relations and the law in the nation’s leading collegiate public relations textbook, “The Practice of Public Relations,” by Faser Seitel.
Kramer received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from New Mexico State University. He received his graduate training in journalism at the University of Nevada-Reno, where he taught introductory journalism. In his spare time Kramer enjoys working on his versions of the great American novel and oil painting.