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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Hard Questions On Same-Sex Marriage

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, June 29, 2015

Opposition to gay unions has been swept away. Will religious rights go next?

Podcast: The Libertarian Podcast, With Richard Epstein: “Gay Marriage And The Supreme Court”
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Kelo V. City Of New London Ten Years Later

by Richard A. Epsteinvia National Review
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

There has been some progress, but much is left to do.

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Hillary Clinton VS. Free Trade

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, June 22, 2015

Republicans and President Obama want an agreement that labor and environmental groups unwisely reject. 

Podcast: The Libertarian: “The Fight Over Free Trade”

Lyft Out

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Friday, June 19, 2015

A bad legal ruling in California could impede ride services, one of the most promising offspring of the sharing economy.

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The Battle Over Jerusalem

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, June 15, 2015

The Supreme Court weighs in on whether the President or Congress takes the lead in foreign policy. 

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Make Soccer More American

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, June 8, 2015

With the departure of Sepp Blatter, FIFA should look to hockey and basketball to reform its game.

Podcast: The Libertarian: “FIFA: What Went Wrong?”
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Another Assault On Treasury's Infamous Third Amendment: The Struggle Over The GSEs Is Not Over

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, June 8, 2015

Late this past May, Thomas and Ida Saxton brought suit against the Federal Housing Finance Agency in the Northern District of Iowa, and thus opened up a new front in the long-running litigation over the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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An Economics Lesson For Bernie Sanders

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, June 1, 2015

Limiting consumer choice, as he wishes to do, will hurt the very people he wants to help.  

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The Other Commerce Clause

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, May 25, 2015

The Supreme Court should preserve the national market in goods and services.

Podcast: The Libertarian: “Understanding The Dormant Commerce Clause”
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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?”