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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Analysis and Commentary

Innovation And Inequality: The Separability Thesis

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy
Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The topic of this Essay concerns the interaction between innovation in areas of intellectual property on the one hand and the demand for greater equality of income and wealth in society on the other. Whatever one thinks of the latter objective, I think that it is a social mistake to link these two separate topics together.

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Why Fiscal Stimulus Fails

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, February 1, 2016

Interest rate adjustments won’t grow the economy, but overturning unneeded regulations and high taxes will. 

Richard A. Epstein
Analysis and Commentary

How Classical Liberal Principles Address Cultural, Social And Economic Issues: Richard Epstein’s Reply

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Liberty Law Talk (Library of Law and Liberty)
Monday, February 1, 2016

My Liberty Forum Essay, Freedom of Association and Antidiscrimination Law: An Imperfect Reconciliation has provoked three thoughtful responses. Those by Marc DeGirolami and Paul Moreno are supportive of my approach and may be best described as intramural disputes among individuals who agree on the relationship between freedom of association and basic antidiscrimination laws.

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The Other Drug War

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, January 25, 2016

The FDA should not have the power to deny patients risky but potentially life-saving drugs.

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Why Democrats Could Win In 2016

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, January 18, 2016

Progressive populism is on the rise, and Republicans have not championed a compelling pro-growth alternative.

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The Uneasy Legacy Of Henrietta Lacks

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, January 11, 2016

Demanding individual consent for the use of biospecimens will hamper life-saving medical research.

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End The 'Agency Shop'

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, January 4, 2016

The Supreme Court in Friedrichs should declare the abuses of public employee unions unconstitutional. 

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Freedom Of Association And Antidiscrimination Law: An Imperfect Reconciliation

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Liberty Law Talk (Library of Law and Liberty)
Saturday, January 2, 2016

The topic of this essay is to identify the proper role of antidiscrimination laws in relation to the general principle of freedom of association, which is itself a subset of the basic principle of freedom of contract.

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Fannie And Freddie In The Dock: Will Shareholders Find Relief Under State Or Federal Law?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The new round of Fannie and Freddie Litigation Jacobs v. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has opened up a second-front in the ongoing struggle between the preferred and common shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, often called Government Sponsored Enterprises, or GSEs, and the United States government.

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Our Affirmative Action Mess

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, December 14, 2015

The Supreme Court needs to rethink its jurisprudence on minority college admissions 

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