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

The Problem With Presidential Signing Statements

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Cato Institute
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Recently, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter, held a hearing about "presidential signing statements." ...

Analysis and Commentary

It’s Time To Strip Public Unions Of Their Monopoly Power

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forward
Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This past term, in Davenport v. Washington Educational Association, a unanimous Supreme Court rebuffed a union claim that its rights to freedom of speech were violated by a Washington state referendum which provided that unions could not use mandatory “agency shop fees” to influence elections or to operate political committees unless those payouts were “affirmatively authorized by the individual.” ...

Analysis and Commentary

Scalia's Judicial Activism

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Friday, June 29, 2007

This past week, a sharply divided Supreme Court in Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation held that President Bush's faith-based initiatives could not be challenged in federal court as a prohibited state establishment of religion...

Analysis and Commentary

Double trouble for US telecoms

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Financial Times
Monday, June 18, 2007

Like it or not, extensive government regulation of high- technology industries is here to stay...

In the News

Federal Preemption: Principles and Politics

by Richard A. Epsteinvia American Enterprise Institute
Monday, June 4, 2007

Once-esoteric questions over the federal preemption of state law are now the subject of a prominent, politically charged debate...

Analysis and Commentary

Legal Sanity 'Discovered'

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, May 24, 2007

This week the U.S. Supreme Court began what might become a welcome revolution in civil litigation when it ordered -- without "discovery" -- the dismissal of an antitrust class-action suit against telephone companies...

Analysis and Commentary

Risky Drug Business

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sen. Edward Kennedy fired the latest shot in the battle over pharmaceutical regulation last week with the introduction of his FDA Revitalization Act...

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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