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

Analysis and Commentary

Lawless Bureaucratic Obstruction Is No Substitute For The Rule of Law In The Dakota Access Decision

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Friday, December 9, 2016

On Sunday, December 4, 2016, the Obama administration carried out its latest step to derail the Dakota Access Pipeline, a joint venture between Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners, when the Department of the Army announced that “it will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.”

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America’s Immigration Quagmire

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

Trump should back off from his confrontational stance on illegal aliens.

Analysis and Commentary

SCOTUS Asks: What Due Process Is Required In Immigration Hearings?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Saturday, December 3, 2016

This past week in Jennings v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court of the United States waded into an immigration thicket from which there is no easy escape. It is commonplace that many aliens in the United States are subject to deportation for a variety of reasons. 


Settling The Fannie Freddie Fiasco: Steven Mnuchin Reverse The Obama Administration Scorched Earth Litigation Strategy If They Hope To Privatize Fannie And Freddie

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Friday, December 2, 2016

Earlier this week, Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Treasury, surprised the financial markets when he announced on Fox Business Network that the United States government should end the conservatorship for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two behemoth government-sponsored enterprises that the government under its control back in the dark days of September 2008.

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Obama’s Labor Market Mischief

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, November 28, 2016

The new Trump administration should rescind the Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule.

Analysis and Commentary

Presidential Miscues On The Dakota Access Pipeline

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Investor's Business Daily
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Right now a major energy and environmental fiasco is playing out over the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This 1172-mile pipeline, when completed, will move 470,000 barrels of oil per day from the production fields in the Bakken and Three Forks regions of North Dakota to refineries and terminals located in Patoka, Ill.

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California’s Needless Housing Crisis

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, November 21, 2016

In communities like Mountain View, bad government policies have led to skyrocketing rents and home prices.

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An Open Letter To Donald Trump On Foreign Policy

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, November 14, 2016

Diplomatic success depends on the prudent willingness to use military force.

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Open Letter to President Trump on Domestic Policy

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Domestic deregulation beats foreign trade wars every time.

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The Loyal Opposition

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, November 7, 2016

Our presidential choices are grim. But we must defend classical liberal principles for the sake of America.