Richard A. Epstein

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

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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Yale, Beyond The Pale

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, October 24, 2016

A great university becomes an unsafe space for free speech, and a safe one for intellectual mediocrity.

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Climate Wars Heat Up

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 21, 2016

Rancor over climate change has turned ExxonMobil into a scapegoat—free speech be damned. 

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An Open Letter to Trump

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, October 17, 2016

The candidate needs to shape up or step down to let Mike Pence take his place at the head of the ticket. 


Understanding Why And How The Obama Administration Has Flouted The Rule Of Law

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Library of Law and Liberty
Friday, October 14, 2016

It is very difficult to take issue with the pessimistic tone of Adam White’s sensible advice to the next President on 10 ways to promote the rule of law. All of the topics that he mentions are understood as serious, systemic weaknesses. When it comes to administrative law, President Obama has a penchant for excessive regulation on substantive matters.

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Intellectual Myopia On Insider Trading

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, October 10, 2016

The Supreme Court should scrap its “personal benefit” test and affirm Salman’s conviction.


Discovery Made Simple In Fannie And Freddie

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Thursday, October 6, 2016

In the United States Court of Federal Claims, the only permissible relief is just compensation for the property taken, plus interest from the time of the taking. In a very real sense, the merits of this case are adequately resolved by one-sentence summary of the consequences of the NWS that Judge Sweeney supplied, wholly without regard to the information that the government received in makings its decision. 

Analysis and Commentary

Finish Construction On Dakota Access Now

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, October 3, 2016

Right now the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is poised to hear an appeal from a September 9, 2016 decision by U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg that refused, at the request of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST), to enjoin the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in an area near and around Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

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The Government’s Civil Rights Bullies

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, September 26, 2016

People seeking religious exemptions from antidiscrimination laws aren’t “bigots."

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Clinton’s Tax Conceit

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, September 19, 2016

Her fiscal plan gives targeted benefits to her favorites—but it won’t grow the economy.

Analysis and Commentary

The Necessity Of The Rich

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Steve Jobs may have earned huge profits from his innovations, but they pale in comparison with the value of the iPhone to its users.