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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The Fannie And Freddie Fiasco

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, April 4, 2016

Government self-dealing has violated shareholder rights. 

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The Plea Of The Little Sisters

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 28, 2016

Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the contraceptive mandate is illegal. 

Analysis and Commentary

Drones: The Bitter With The Sweet?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Monday, March 28, 2016

A recent post in the tabloid British press offers an early warning to an issue that is surely percolating up right now in the United States. Quite simply, what should be done with privately owned drones.

Analysis and Commentary

The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property: A Natural Rights Perspective

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Federalist Society
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

One of the major unmarked developments in the past century of American law has been the decline of natural law thinking.

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Merrick Garland: Political Pawn

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, March 21, 2016

Should Republicans oppose his nomination to the Court? 

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The Rise of American Protectionism

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 14, 2016

Regulations and unions are why jobs are leaving America—not free trade. 

Justice Antonin Scalia discusses the premise of his book, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.
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Scalia Maligned

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, March 7, 2016

A broadside attack of originalism is sloppy, flawed, and vulgar. 


Whole Woman’s Health In The Supreme Court: When Does Regulation Count As An Undue Burden?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Saturday, March 5, 2016

In its first major argument since the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the newly constituted eight-member Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt had a spirited session on whether the twin requirements of Texas Law H.B. 2 constituted an “undue burden” on a women’s constitutional right to have an abortion set out in 1992 Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

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The Real Cause Of American Growth

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, February 29, 2016

A popular new book inexplicably ignores how laissez-faire capitalism drives innovation.

Analysis and Commentary

Expanding Standing Under Article III: A Return To The Original Meaning

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Harvard Law Record
Friday, February 26, 2016

One of the great achievements of the late Justice Antonin Scalia lies in his heartfelt insistence that key terms of the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with their original public meaning. Most people think that this general invocation leads necessarily to a conservative jurisprudence on the major issues of the day.