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

Drug Crazy

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Monday, March 26, 2007

In an industry advisory last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced tough new conflict-of-interest rules against doctors who sit on its advisory committees, which recommend whether the FDA should allow pharmaceutical companies to market their new products...

Analysis and Commentary

EU continues battle against Microsoft

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Financial Times
Monday, March 5, 2007

On March 1 the competition division of the European Commission rolled out the heavy artillery against Microsoft...

Analysis and Commentary

Detainees and Habeas Corpus

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey paint with too broad a brush in seeking to discredit the litigation brought against the United States during the current war against terror ("Lawfare," editorial page, Feb. 23) -- in particular, their claim that habeas corpus is an improper form of "lawfare" that wrongly whitewashes legal claims that deserve serious judicial and public attention...

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First, Do No Harm

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Patent protections, pricing freedom, and the ability to market new products have given the United States the most innovative pharmaceutical industry on earth. Why we must resist new efforts to regulate Big Pharma. By Richard A. Epstein.

Analysis and Commentary

Bid Farewell to Capgains Tax

by Richard A. Epsteinvia New York Sun
Friday, January 5, 2007

As a new Congress convenes, the divisive issue of tax reform looms large on the agenda...

Analysis and Commentary

The myth of the big bad drug companies

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Los Angeles Times
Friday, December 22, 2006

The pharmaceutical industry is getting bad press...

Analysis and Commentary

Deferred Prosecution Deals Create Harmful Incentives

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Monday, December 18, 2006

My Nov. 28 editorial-page commentary "The Deferred Prosecution Racket" brought forth a spirited but wholly unconvincing response by Patrick E. Hobbs, dean of the Seton Hall Law School ("Fighting the Infection of Unethical Behavior in Corporate Culture," Letters to the Editor, Dec. 8)...

Analysis and Commentary

What's good for pharma is good for America

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Boston Globe
Sunday, December 3, 2006

The winds of political fortune have brought the Democrats into power in both houses of Congress, and high on their 2007 agenda is tightening the regulatory screws on the pharmaceutical industry...

Analysis and Commentary

The Deferred Prosecution Racket

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Corporations suffer a peculiar vulnerability...

Analysis and Commentary

Patents - to nationalise, or otherwise

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Financial Times
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Any patent system necessarily has public and private components...

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