Richard A. Epstein

Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Biography: 

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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Forget The Paris Accords

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The U.S. should withdraw from an agreement based in bad science—and bad economics. 

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Progressively Bankrupt

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, May 22, 2017

States like Connecticut and Illinois desperately need labor market and pension reform. 

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No Exit On Health Care

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, May 15, 2017

There is no easy way to undo the Obamacare rules on community rating and preexisting conditions.

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Attention, Liberals: Comey Deserved To Be Fired, And The Constitution Is Just Fine

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Vox
Thursday, May 11, 2017

The hyperventilation in Washington is unjustified.

Analysis and Commentary

A Rush To Judgment On The Comey Firing

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The firing of James Comey as the Director of the FBI has brought forth a firestorm of protests by Democrats who think that this decision represents a serious attack on the rule of law and a possible repetition of the Watergate scandals that brought down President Richard Nixon.

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Gender@Facebook

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Sexism doesn’t explain why there are fewer female engineers at the social media company. 

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Who Can Restrict Free Speech?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Policyed.org
Friday, May 5, 2017

Although some groups are allowed to restrict speech, others are not. What sets them apart is if there are other options available to individuals. In general, the government is not allowed to restrict speech because it does not have any competitors and thus could stamp out all opposing views. Private groups on the other hand have competitors, which ensures a diversity of views and options to individuals.

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Should Speech That Offends Be Prohibited?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Policyed.org
Thursday, May 4, 2017

Speech that attempts to persuade is broadly protected under free speech, even if some people find it offensive. What some find offensive, others may find persuasive. A commitment to free speech inevitably means protecting the rights of people whose speech is deeply offensive to many, but a permissive environment leads to fewer rights being violated and ultimately, a freer world.

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The Limits Of Free Speech

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Policyed.org
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The First Amendment allows us to speak our mind and stand up for what we believe in. However, the limits on free speech are rooted in the principle that we’re not allowed to harm others to get what we want. That’s why we’re not allowed to use to speech for force, fraud, or defamation.

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Trump's Tax Plan

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, May 1, 2017

The next important step: more concrete detail.

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