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


Discovery Made Simple In Fannie And Freddie

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Thursday, October 6, 2016

In the United States Court of Federal Claims, the only permissible relief is just compensation for the property taken, plus interest from the time of the taking. In a very real sense, the merits of this case are adequately resolved by one-sentence summary of the consequences of the NWS that Judge Sweeney supplied, wholly without regard to the information that the government received in makings its decision. 

Analysis and Commentary

Finish Construction On Dakota Access Now

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, October 3, 2016

Right now the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is poised to hear an appeal from a September 9, 2016 decision by U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg that refused, at the request of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST), to enjoin the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in an area near and around Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

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The Government’s Civil Rights Bullies

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, September 26, 2016

People seeking religious exemptions from antidiscrimination laws aren’t “bigots."

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Clinton’s Tax Conceit

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, September 19, 2016

Her fiscal plan gives targeted benefits to her favorites—but it won’t grow the economy.

Analysis and Commentary

The Necessity Of The Rich

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Steve Jobs may have earned huge profits from his innovations, but they pale in comparison with the value of the iPhone to its users.

Analysis and Commentary

Why The DOJ Order To Shut Down Construction On The DAPL Pipeline Is Legally Indefensible

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The DOJ offers no explanation for holding this pipeline’s completion hostage to possible changes in the overall permit approval process.

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Europe Gets Apple Right

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, September 12, 2016

American commenters on the left and right have disparaged the European Commission’s ruling, but it makes a classical liberal argument in favor of free trade. 

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New York’s Self-Inflicted Housing Crunch

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, September 5, 2016

Developers who want to build new and better buildings face crazy restrictions.

Analysis and Commentary

Do Guns And Medical Marijuana Mix? A Ninth Circuit Decision Says No.

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday, in Wilson v. Lynch, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed down a decision holding that the federal government was within its rights when it decreed, via an open letter to all gun dealers, that any person who held a state license to use marijuana for medical purposes was banned from purchasing a weapon.

Analysis and Commentary

Stonewalling Discovery On The Net Worth Sweep

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, August 29, 2016

More procedural objections throw more sand in the gears of the GSE Litigation.