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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Trump’s Flawed Protectionism

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, August 21, 2017

Hardball on NAFTA makes it more difficult to tackle China’s cheating on trade.

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by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, August 14, 2017

“Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” the memo written by Google’s now-fired software engineer James Damore, addresses a taboo topic in modern American life—namely, sex differences that relate to the abilities and occupational choices of men and women.

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Labor Lessons From Canton

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, August 7, 2017

The power of unions is waning in the United States. Is France next? 


The Troubled Status Of Russian Sanctions Legislation—With The President’s Signing Statement Attached

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Just Security
Thursday, August 3, 2017

Just yesterday, an unhappy President Donald Trump signed H.R. 3364, America’s Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions,” which targets a rogue’s gallery of Iran, North Korea and Russia, all of whom pose serious security threats to the United States and its allies. Each of these nations presents somewhat different problems, so I shall confine my attention here to Russia, whose relationship with the United States has fallen as of late into a downward spiral. 


The Fannie Freddie Document Treasure Trove

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Wednesday, August 2, 2017

July 19, 2017 marked the release of the first set of much-awaited government documents that addressed the government knew and when, before the implementation of its net worth sweep on August 17, 2012, which gave the government all profits from the operation of those two Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That deal was embodied in the Third Amendment to the original Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (SPSPAs) of September 2008.

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Presidential Chaos

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 31, 2017

How many adults are there in the White House to keep Trump in line?

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The Diversity Fundamentalists

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 24, 2017

A new consensus for "diversity" and "inclusion," if left unchallenged, will have an unintended consequence: unthinking intellectual rigidity, a malaise that all successful institutions must guard against.

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The Single-Payer Siren

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 17, 2017

The Republicans are flubbing a golden health-care opportunity.

Analysis and Commentary

Next Steps For Judge Boasberg In Dakota Access: Let DAPL Remain Operational

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, July 17, 2017

Days before summer on June 14, 2017, Judge James Boasberg issued his latest opinion in the long-running dispute by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Judge Boasberg’s opinion was something of a cliffhanger, with its final episodes yet to be written.

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Home Is Where the Market Is

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 7, 2017

What we should do—and stop doing—in the quest for “affordable housing.”