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


Should Speech That Offends Be Prohibited?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia
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.


The Limits Of Free Speech

by Richard A. Epsteinvia
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.

Analysis and Commentary

The Confused Status Of The Plaintiff Class Claims In Perry Capital V. Mnuchin

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, May 1, 2017

The D.C. Circuit majority offers no path through the litigation nightmare on remand.

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The Bill O’Reilly Scandal

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, April 24, 2017

Lesson: We don’t need federal enforcement of civil rights laws to curb sexual abuse. 

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Trump’s Forceful Syrian Gambit

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, April 17, 2017

Progress in the Middle East requires prudent use of the American military.

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Brussels Gets Brexit Wrong—Again

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, April 10, 2017

The EU’s priority should be trade with the UK, not a dogmatic protection of the status quo. 

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Our Energy Hysteria

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, April 3, 2017

Trump’s policies are far from perfect, but they don’t endanger the planet. 

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Gorsuch V. Schumer

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, March 27, 2017

Trump’s SCOTUS nominee is a conciliator. The Democratic senator is not. 

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The Health Care Conundrum

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, March 20, 2017

Efforts to dismantle Obamacare will fail unless the GOP makes the system more efficient.