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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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.

Barack Obama
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Barack vs. Bibi

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 23, 2015

The President’s foreign policy toward Israel and Iran reveals, once again, the dangers of “leading from behind.” 

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Race Baiting And Ferguson

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 16, 2015

The Department of Justice has exonerated Darren Wilson but still blames racism for unrest in Ferguson. Why?

Podcast: The Libertarian: “Ferguson Revisited”
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Uber And Lyft In California: How To Use Employment Law To Wreck An Industry

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, March 16, 2015

The greatest advances in local transportation are driven by innovation companies like Uber and Lyft.

Other Media

The Hard Questions

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Monday, March 16, 2015

New technologies are always a mixed blessing, their potential for good carrying with it the risk of evil. The deep challenge for a democracy is to develop legal rules, social practices and institutional arrangements that, at some reasonable cost, separate good from bad behavior.

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Obamacare's Tangled Web

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 9, 2015

The Supreme Court should strike down the IRS regulation allowing subsidies for health care policies purchased through the federal exchange.

Podcast: The Libertarian Podcast – “Obamacare at the Supreme Court — Part 2”
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Abercrombie’s Hijab Problem

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 2, 2015

The government wants to unwisely regulate the retailer's hiring policies. 

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Greece On The Brink

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, February 23, 2015

Neither austerity nor debt forgiveness will solve the country’s financial woes. Here is what will.

Podcast: The Libertarian Podcast – “Greece, Germany And The European Union”