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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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Trust Busters on the Supreme Court

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A huge chunk of the Supreme Court's work lies in interpreting the statutes and regulations that govern every nook of American life…

Analysis and Commentary

The Benighted Policies of Organ Donations

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Friday, May 26, 2006

Let me offer a brief answer to both Richard Amerling and Charles Fruit for their May 23 Letters to the Editor "Should Kidneys Be Sold or Only Donated…

Analysis and Commentary

Property and Privilege

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, July 6, 2005

The good news in the aftermath of Kelo is that it has forced people, especially on the political left, to rethink their views on the place of private property.

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The Courts at a Crossroads

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2005

What kind of judges should the president nominate? The kind who are willing to place limitations on government power and to protect individual rights against federal and state intervention. By Richard A. Epstein.

Free Markets Under Siege: Cartels, Politics, and Social Welfare

Free Markets Under Siege: Cartels, Politics, and Social Welfare

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Saturday, January 1, 2005

Drawing on his extensive knowledge of history, law, and economics, Richard Epstein examines how best to regulate the interface between market choice and government intervention—and find a middle way between socialism and libertarianism.

Win-Win

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, October 30, 2004

Sure, Bill Gates is rich. But his employees aren’t doing so badly either, now, are they? By Richard A. Epstein.

Analysis and Commentary

Where Else Can They Go?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The reason candidates migrate to the center is captured in the expression, where else can they go?

Defining Social Welfare—and Achieving It

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 30, 2004

Whether you define social welfare as wealth, health, or happiness, you’ll discover that it’s best achieved by way of property rights and limited government. By Hoover fellow Richard Epstein.

How Not to Prevent another Enron

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

When a zealous Congress decided to launch a crusade to “prevent another Enron,” it could only mean one thing: bad, poorly conceived legislation. Hoover fellow Richard Epstein explains.

PEACEABLE KINGDOM: Animal Rights

with Richard A. Epstein, David Blattevia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 28, 2003

The past decade has seen the emergence of an increasingly vocal animal rights movement in this country. Although many of the specific goals of the movement have to do with promoting the humane treatment of animals, the underlying argument is that certain basic legal rights should be extended to animals as well. Should we recognize that animals have legal rights, or should we continue to regard animals as property, as resources to use as humans see fit? Just what rights, if any, should animals have? And how could these rights alter the relationship between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom?

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