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

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...

Free Markets and the Perils of Compensation

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2006

It is a cruel reality of the free marketplace that some individuals are hurt while others prosper. But Richard A. Epstein explains that the state must not intervene to provide protection from competitive losses.

Intellectual Freedom Fighter

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2006

Richard A. Epstein

John Yoo

The Constitution and the War

by Peter M. Robinsonwith Richard A. Epstein, John Yoovia Uncommon Knowledge
Sunday, October 29, 2006

Where should we draw the line between civil liberties and national security in the “war on terror”? Are we even at war, and if so, what are the constitutional limits to presidential war powers? Has the Bush administration gone too far in the electronic surveillance of citizens and the coercive interrogation of suspected terrorists and enemy combatants? Richard Epstein and John Yoo, both widely regarded as strict constitutional constructionists, take decidedly different positions on these questions. (41:26) Video transcript

Analysis and Commentary

Produce the Body

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Saturday, October 7, 2006

Last week, the Bush administration persuaded a divided Congress to pass the Military Commissions Act (MCA), giving the president the authorization the Supreme Court ruled that he needed to try enemy combatants in Guantanamo...

In the News

Citywide Minimum-Wage Rules:

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On Sept. 11, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley used the first veto of his 17-year tenure to reject an ordinance aimed at forcing big retailers to pay wages of $10 an hour and health benefits equivalent to $3 an hour by 2010...

Kidney Beancounters

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, July 30, 2006

The economics of organ donations. By Richard A. Epstein.

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