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 Climate Wars Get Ugly

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, April 18, 2016

In a dangerous violation of free speech, politicians are hauling companies and “deniers” into court. 

Analysis and Commentary

New Deposition Testimony Cuts The Legs Out From Under The 2012 Net Worth Sweep

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

On April 4, 2016 I published a column (then, as now, as a consultant for several institutional investors) on the Fannie and Freddie fiasco that outlined the major legal issues that will surface when the District of Columbia hears the appeal that Perry Capital and Fairholme Funds are bringing to challenge the “net worth sweep” put into place between the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Department of Treasury on August 17, 2012.


Misguided Judge Invalidates Wisconsin’s Right-to-Work Law

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

In these turbulent times, it is quite amazing how rapidly the fortunes of the political wars can shift, especially on matters of labor law.

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The Toxic Populism Of The Democrats

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

Clinton and Sanders propose economic fixes that will hurt today’s floundering middle class. 

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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.