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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Mob Censorship On Campus

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, March 13, 2017

The First Amendment does not protect disruptive student protesters.

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Trump Vs. Free Trade

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, March 6, 2017

The President’s mercantilism could undo the domestic gains from deregulation.


D.C. Circuit Refuses To See Limits To Government Power And Inexcusably Upholds The Net Worth Sweep

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Friday, March 3, 2017

On February 21, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its long-awaited opinion in Perry Capital LLC v. Mnuchin in his official capacity as Secretary of Treasury.

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The Affordable Housing Crisis

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

Zoning restrictions and building regulations only serve to hurt low-income tenants. 

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A Two-State Solution For The West Bank?

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

The Trump administration may want to broker a new deal, but insuperable obstacles stand in the way. 

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Time For Trump To Resign?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, February 13, 2017

To Republicans wary of criticizing the President: the alternative is no longer Hillary but Pence.


Why The Ninth Circuit Was Right To Put Trump’s Executive Order On Hold

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Wall Street Journal today published an editorial, “Trump’s Judicial Debacle,” which takes a divided position on President Trump’s notorious Executive Order that has three key components. It first attacks the entire process as a political debacle and social disaster, which it surely is. 


Article I Section 10

by Richard A. Epstein, Jack Rakovevia Constitution Center
Thursday, February 9, 2017

Article I, Section 10 contains a long, somewhat diverse list of prohibitions on the power of the states to engage in certain activities. Understanding its significance depends on first placing it within the larger framework of Article I, which is primarily devoted to setting out the structure of Congress and then enumerating its legislative powers.

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Neil Gorsuch: The Man For The Court

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, February 6, 2017

A judge with the wisdom to understand the virtues and limitations of originalism. 

Analysis and Commentary

Fairholme's Big Win On Discovery

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, February 6, 2017

On January 30, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears appeals on takings claims brought against the United States, handed down its decision in the important discovery suit in Fairholme Funds v. United States