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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Are Voter ID Laws Racist?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 25, 2016

Requiring individuals to show picture identification—a minimal burden—is a valid way to prevent fraud.

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Religious Liberty Under Siege In Mississippi

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, July 18, 2016

Recent developments confirm the creeping intolerance of the civil rights movement.

Analysis and Commentary

Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Politician

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Wednesday, July 13, 2016

More than a few eyebrows have been raised recently about the conspicuous entry of another distinguished voice into the maelstrom of the current presidential race. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has taken up herself in a series of interviews and pronouncements to lace into Donald Trump and all but endorse Hillary Clinton as President of the United States.

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Defending Free Trade

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 11, 2016

Presidential candidates have been waving the bloody shirt of protectionism. Why attacking free trade is wrong—and cheap.

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Hasty Judgment On “Institutional Racism”

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 11, 2016

Did the President's and the media’s inflammatory rhetoric on race motivate the Dallas shooter?

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Barack Obama's Failed Presidency

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, July 5, 2016

His flawed progressivism has led to discontent at home and turmoil abroad.

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Trade And Immigration After Brexit

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, June 27, 2016

We need the free the movement of goods, labor, and services—but not necessarily of immigrants—across borders. 

Analysis and Commentary

Classical Liberals & Constitutional Change: Moe, Howell Go Badly Astray On Presidential Power

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Friday, June 24, 2016

On April 26, Basic Books published a new book by Terry Moe and William G. Howell, Relic: How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government — And Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency, which then they thereafter summarized in a Defining Ideas Column on June 2.

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A Cautious Yes On Brexit

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, June 20, 2016

The EU’s regulations are simply too burdensome. A European common market is a much better solution. 

Analysis and Commentary

Show A Little Class, Anderson Cooper

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Friday, June 17, 2016

I am no expert on the fine art of social dynamics. Nonetheless, it seems pretty clear that in times of great national stress, such as the carnage in Orlando, our impulses should be to unite a nation reeling from its wounds.