Kevin Stack receives 2015 Chancellor’s Award for Research

Aug 28, 2015

2015 Kevin Stack Faculty Assembly Chancellor ZepposKevin M. Stack, professor of law, is one of five Vanderbilt University faculty honored with a 2015 Chancellor’s Award for Research.

Stack was recognized for his influential 2012 Michigan Law Review article, “Interpreting Regulations.” The university-wide award, which includes a cash prize, recognizes works of research, scholarship or creative expression presented or published within the previous three years.

Stack was also recognized with a 2013 ABA Administrative Law Scholarship Award for the article, which provides the first systematic description of how courts approach regulatory interpretation. Stack’s article prompted a study, which he authored, for the Administrative Conference of the United States resulting in a set of recommendations adopted by the Conference on how federal agencies should draft their regulations.

“In his convincing argument, Kevin sheds light on why extensive explanatory statements [that agencies publish alongside their regulations] should be used not only as justification for the agency’s choices in crafting the regulation, but also as the primary source for interpreting ambiguity in the regulation’s text,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said.

Professor Kevin StackIn the article, Stack defends a methodology for courts and administrative agencies when they are interpreting regulations. Courts routinely rely on the detailed justifications agencies provide for their regulations to assess their validity. Stack argues that these statements should also guide interpretation of the regulations. This approach, he suggests, has a significant advantage: It provides regulated entities with more notice and predictability as to the range of allowable interpretations of a regulation than merely asking, as courts often do, whether an interpretation is permitted by the text of the regulation.

Stack joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 2007 from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He served as associate dean for research from 2008 to 2010 and again from 2012 to 2015. He is also co-author (with Lisa Bressman and Edward Rubin) of The Regulatory State (Aspen Publishers, second edition 2013), a casebook on statutes and administrative lawmaking used in Vanderbilt Law School’s required first-year course of the same name.

In addition to the Michigan Law Review, Stack’s articles have been published in the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, and the Iowa Law Review, among others, and in several books. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School.


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