Richard A. Epstein

Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Biography: 

Richard A. Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University Law School, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.

In 2011, Epstein was a recipient of the Bradley Prize for outstanding achievement. In 2005, the College of William & Mary School of Law awarded him the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize.

Epstein researches and writes in a broad range of constitutional, economic, historical, and philosophical subjects. He has taught administrative law, antitrust law, communications law, constitutional law, corporation criminal law, employment discrimination law, environmental law, food and drug law, health law, labor law, Roman law, real estate development and finance, and individual and corporate taxation.

He edited the Journal of Legal Studies (1981–91) and the Journal of Law and Economics (1991–2001).

Epstein’s most recent publication is The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government (2013). Other books include Design for Liberty: Private Property, Public Administration, and the Rule of Law (2011); The Case against the Employee Free Choice Act (Hoover Institution Press, 2009); Supreme Neglect: How to Revive the Constitutional Protection for Private Property (2008); How the Progressives Rewrote the Constitution (2006); Overdose (2006); and Free Markets under Siege: Cartels, Politics, and Social Welfare (Hoover Institution Press, 2005).

He received a BA degree in philosophy summa cum laude from Columbia in 1964; a BA degree in law with first-class honors from Oxford University in 1966; and an LLB degree cum laude, from the Yale Law School in 1968. Upon graduation he joined the faculty at the University of Southern California, where he taught until 1972. In 1972, he visited the University of Chicago and became a regular member of the faculty the following year.

He has been a senior fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics since 1984 and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1985. He has been a Hoover fellow since 2000.

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Recent Commentary

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The Diversity Fundamentalists

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 24, 2017

A new consensus for "diversity" and "inclusion," if left unchallenged, will have an unintended consequence: unthinking intellectual rigidity, a malaise that all successful institutions must guard against.

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The Single-Payer Siren

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 17, 2017

The Republicans are flubbing a golden health-care opportunity.

Analysis and Commentary

Next Steps For Judge Boasberg In Dakota Access: Let DAPL Remain Operational

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, July 17, 2017

Days before summer on June 14, 2017, Judge James Boasberg issued his latest opinion in the long-running dispute by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Judge Boasberg’s opinion was something of a cliffhanger, with its final episodes yet to be written.

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Home Is Where the Market Is

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 7, 2017

What we should do—and stop doing—in the quest for “affordable housing.” 

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“The Power of the Thought”

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 7, 2017

Contempt for freedom of speech reflects impoverished minds. Colleges that reject intellectual diversity are much to blame. 

Analysis and Commentary

Competition, Not Sanctions, Can Check Russian Aggression

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Hill
Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday, Presidents Trump and Putin had their heart-to-heart talks on several ticklish subjects, one of which was undoubtedly trade. It is easy to figure out where President Trump has gone wrong on trade. He is overly-concerned with trade deficits, which leads him to indulge in selective forms of protectionism that are both politically unwise and economically self-defeating.

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Trump At The G-20 -- Perils And Prospects

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Fox News
Thursday, July 6, 2017

The G-20 meetings in Hamburg present a dangerous challenge to Donald Trump as he tries to both burnish his own reputation and improve the overall global financial and social situation. To meet the rest of the world head on, he has to control the demons inside himself, by avoiding the extemporaneous gaffes that all too often have upended his substantive agenda.

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The Supreme Court’s Playground Scrape

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 3, 2017

The Free Exercise and the Establishment clauses of the Constitution can be at odds.

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Memo To GOP: It’s Too Late For Full-Scale ObamaCare Repeal

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Hill
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Right now the Republican program to repeal and replace ObamaCare looks as though it will be effectively thwarted by dissent with the party’s own ranks.

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Doctrinal Tangle At SCOTUS

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, June 26, 2017

All substantive constitutional protections are entitled to equal respect. 

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