Mikos’s appointment to the newly endowed chair was announced by Chris Guthrie, Dean and John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law.
The chair was established in 2018 by the LaRoche Family Foundation through its trustees, Richard F. (Ted) LaRoche ’70 and Gloria E. LaRoche (BA’67) in honor of three generations of Vanderbilt Law graduates: Richard F. LaRoche Sr. ’50, a World War II Air Force veteran who served as a Circuit Court judge for Rutherford and Cannon counties in Tennessee; Richard F. LaRoche Jr. ’70, a former general counsel for National Healthcare Corp., who was a founding member of the Law School’s Alumni Board, now the Board of Advisors; and David B. LaRoche’ 06, an estate attorney who owns the LaRoche Law Office in Murfreesboro. Ted LaRoche was honored with the Law School’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003.
“Rob Mikos is a pioneering scholar of marijuana law, and his work in that area has illuminated the tensions between state and federal law,” said Chris Guthrie, Dean and John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law. “I’m grateful to the LaRoche Family for making it possible to recognize Rob’s scholarly achievements and contributions to the Law School with this appointment.”
Mikos is one of the nation’s leading experts on federalism and drug law. His most recent scholarship analyzes the struggle among federal, state and local governments for control of marijuana law and policy, which includes a first-of-its-kind casebook, Marijuana Law, Policy and Authority (2017). Mikos has written, consulted, testified and lectured on the states’ constitutional authority to legalize marijuana, the application of the Dormant Commerce Clause to state marijuana markets, federal preemption of state marijuana regulations, the political and budgetary considerations that limit enforcement of the federal marijuana ban, federal law’s influence on state regulation and taxation of the marijuana industry, and the desirability of marijuana localism.
Mikos’ work has also addressed the states’ constitutional authority to withhold information from the federal government, tactics states can use to deter federal preemption of state regulatory authority, the political safeguards of federalism, accuracy in criminal sanctions, the economics of private precautions against crime, and remedies in private law.
Mikos earned his J.D. summa cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as articles editor on the Michigan Law Review and won numerous awards, including the Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship. Before entering the legal academy, he was a law clerk for Chief Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Mikos has taught at the University of California at Davis, where he was twice nominated for the school’s Distinguished Teaching Award, as well as at Notre Dame and the University of Michigan. He is affiliated with the Program in Law and Government and teaches courses in Federalism, Constitutional Law, Marijuana Law and Policy, Federal Criminal Law, and Drug Law and Policy.