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

The state of pensions
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Pension Abuse In California

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 19, 2018

A court battle over “airtime rights” that place a fearsome burden on the state treasury.

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The Troubled Legacy Of Dodd-Frank

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 12, 2018

New legislation marks a welcome first step in banking reform.


Complete The Bayou Bridge Pipeline Now

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Friday, March 9, 2018

On February 27, 2018, Judge Shelly Dick issued a preliminary injunction in Atchafalaya Basinkeeper v. United States Army Corps of Engineers temporarily blocking the completion of an extension of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP), a 24-inch buried pipeline, designed to transport up to 480,000 barrels of various grades of crude oil over about 163 miles from Lake Charles Louisiana to terminal facilities in St. James Louisiana.

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The Limits Of Textualism

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 5, 2018
The text alone cannot resolve all constitutional disputes.
Teachers picket in La Habra last December
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Big Labor Vs. Little Dissenters

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, February 22, 2018

A blockbuster Supreme Court case could diminish the role of public unions. 

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by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, February 19, 2018

One state’s effort to save the Affordable Care Act.

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Steele Dossier Intrigue

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, February 12, 2018

The trail leading back to the Democratic establishment looks uncomfortably hot.


Polish Backslide On Holocaust Is Morally, Legally Troubling

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Hill
Friday, February 9, 2018

In 1905, Spanish poet and philosopher George Santayana wisely remarked: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." In 2018, it appears that the Polish government has suffered an incurable memory lapse now that it has enacted legislation that aims to punish — with up to three-year prison sentences — those who commit the unspeakable crime of using the three words: "Polish death camps," or, even worse, suggest "publicly and against the facts" that Poland had collaborated with the Nazis in the extermination campaign that left millions of Jewish people dead.

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A Comeuppance For Obama’s Presidential Center

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, February 5, 2018

Chicago’s South Siders post a Do-Not-Enter sign in Jackson Park. 

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The Trump Growth Machine

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, January 29, 2018

Avoiding Keynesian landmines could make prosperity the new normal.