Matthew Downer ’14 wins ABA essay competition

Matthew Downer
Matthew Downer (photo by Daniel Dubois)

Matthew Downer ’14 won the 2014 Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Competition, sponsored by the ABA’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, which carries a $5,000 prize. The annual award recognizes a single student for a paper on an administrative law topic. Downer’s winning entry, “Tentative Interpretations: The Abracadabra of Administrative Rulemaking and the End of Alaska Hunters,” published in the April 2014 Vanderbilt Law Review, discusses the doctrine—associated with the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Alaska Professional Hunters v. Federal Aviation Administration—governing when administrative agencies have to undergo a new rulemaking process to change an interpretation of a regulation. Downer presented his paper and received his award at the section’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on October 16. He is currently serving as a law clerk for Judge Amul R. Thapar of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Covington. “Matthew’s note is an outstanding contribution on an important topic for agencies and regulated parties,” Kevin Stack, associate dean for academic affairs, said. Downer is the second consecutive Vanderbilt Law graduate to win the Gellhorn-Sargentich competition. Taylor Owings ’13 received the award in 2013.


Fall 2014 Vanderbilt Law Magazine