Stack’s scholarship and teaching are animated by the question of what the rule of law requires for administrative government. One of his signature contributions is a 2012 Michigan Law Review article, “Interpreting Regulations,” now considered the leading treatment of how courts should interpret federal administrative regulations, an extremely significant source of federal law. That work won the American Bar Association’s Annual Scholarship Prize in Administrative Law and prompted a federal agency recommendation to all federal agencies on the drafting of their regulation. Stack’s approach to regulatory intepretation has been adopted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The article was also recognized with the Vanderbilt University Chancellor’s Award for Research.
In other widely praised scholarship, Stack exposes the limits that legislation imposes on the president’s power to direct administrative agencies and the limits on Congress’s power to insulate executive officials from removal. He has also examined parallel issues in European Union law. His articles have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Columbia Law Review, Cornell Law Review and Northwestern University Law Review along with the Michigan Law Review and others.
A committed classroom teacher and mentor to students, Stack is also the co-author of a textbook with Vanderbilt Law colleagues Lisa Bressman and Edward Rubin, The Regulatory State (Aspen, 2013). As he explains, “Statutes and regulations are such a significant source of law today, we believe that students should be exposed to how they are made, interpreted and applied in the first year of law school.”
In the past five years, three Vanderbilt students—Taylor Owings ’13, Matthew Downer ’15 and Laura Dolbow ’17—have won the American Bar Association’s Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Competition. “Much of my paper was inspired by classroom discussions and conversations with Professor Stack while I was taking his Administrative Law class,” Dolbow, who won the 2017 award, said.
Stack also has served the law school as associate dean for research for five years before taking the role of director of graduate students for Vanderbilt’s Ph.D. Progam in Law and Economics.
Stack holds the law school’s second Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Chair in Law, created in 2015 thanks to growth in the original endowment fund, which was established in 1986 by Charles Speir ’51 (BA’49) and his wife, Lee S. Speir (’49) in 1986. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Speir attended Vanderbilt University on a football scholarship. During law school, he was elected president of the Vanderbilt Bar Association. Speir spent 20 years in legal practice before becoming an entrepreneur and founding several businesses, including Healthcare Services of America and Speir Investments, which developed residential subdivisions. Nancy King has held the original Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Chair in Law since 2003.