I am so thrilled to hear tonight that our regular blogger and BYU Law Professor (and my friend and frequent coauthor) Aaron Nielson received the Federalist Society’s 2021 Joseph Story Award. The Story Award is given out annually to one young academic (40 years and under) who has “demonstrated excellence in legal scholarship, a commitment to teaching, a concern for students, and who has made a significant public impact in a manner that advances the rule of law in a free society.” Prior recipients include, among others, Steve Sachs, Will Baude, Tara Leigh Grove, Nita Farahany, Sai Prakash, Nicole Garnett, and Orin Kerr.
Aaron is such a deserving recipient of the Story Award. His administrative law scholarship has been widely published and cited, influencing how we think about judicial deference, rulemaking, ossification, and waivers and nonenforcement — just to provide a few examples. For instance, his latest scholarship with Kristin Hickman on Chevron deference in administrative adjudication was the centerpiece of the most recent Duke Law Journal annual administrative law symposium. Aaron is such a lucid and engaging writer. His response (Confessions of an “Anti-Administrativist”) to Gillian Metzger’s Harvard Law Review Supreme Court Review foreword may be my personal favorite.
But Aaron is not just a traditional administrative law scholar. He also writes extensively for a broader audience of appellate and regulatory practitioners. Readers of this blog have benefited greatly from his five years of weekly blog posts covering the D.C. Circuit, which compilation on SSRN exceeds 1200 pages! He serves the administrative law community in so many other ways, including as a member of the governing council of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice and as Chair of the Administration and Management Committee of the Administrative Conference of the United States. Last year he admirably served the Supreme Court as court-appointed amicus in Collins v. Yellen, to defend the constitutionality of the structure of the Federal Housing Finance Authority.
I could go on and on about Aaron’s contributions to the administrative law field, and the Federalist Society’s announcement has more details. But I’ll end on a more personal note. What I love about Aaron is that he cares so much about ideas; his intellectual curiosity is contagious. He also cares deeply about people. Aaron has been such a generous scholar in the field to me and so many others, especially younger scholars who are finding their voice. He no doubt takes a similar approach in the classroom and with his students.
We are so fortunate to have Aaron as part of the administrative law community and to read his insights on the blog. I look forward to his continued contributions to the field for decades to come. And I treasure our friendship and the opportunities we’ve had to collaborate. Congratulations Aaron on this richly deserved recognition!