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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The "Income Inequality" Warriors

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Their policies will leave both the rich and the poor worse off. 

Podcast: The Libertarian: “Should We Worry About Income Inequality?”
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The Political Economy of Nail Salons

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, May 11, 2015

Yes, manicurists in New York have it rough, but workable regulatory solutions that improve their position are hard to find. 

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Baltimore’s Real Police Problem

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, May 4, 2015

The culprit in this mess is not racism. It’s the progressive policies that have destroyed a city.  

Podcast: The Libertarian: “Baltimore, Law Enforcement, and Race”
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The EPA’s Clean Coal Dust-Up

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, April 27, 2015

We need pollution regulation, but not the kind the federal government is offering. 

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The Problem With NYC’s Landmark Preservation Laws

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, April 20, 2015

The fiftieth anniversary of the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission should be an occasion for reform, not celebration.

Defend the Offender

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2015

A healthy society strikes this deal: to be tolerated yourself, you must tolerate what offends you.

Irreconcilable Differences—Perhaps

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2015

A two-state solution could give Israel and the Palestinians the “fair divorce” they want. But it would require two willing partners, not just one.

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The Problem With Antidiscrimination Laws

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, April 13, 2015

Markets, not government diktats, are a better route to freedom and equality. 

Podcast: The Libertarian: “Civil Rights and Antidiscrimination Laws”
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The War Against Religious Liberty

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The ferocious attacks against Indiana’s law reveal how narrow-minded, militant, and intolerant ideologues really are. 

Podcast: The Libertarian: “Indiana, Discrimination, and Religious Liberty”
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Wanted: A Color-Blind Voting Rights Law

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 30, 2015

The Supreme Court’s latest decision will further polarize electoral politics at the state and national level.

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