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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Clean Air Vs. Dirty Hogs

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The common law of nuisance is the best defense against the costs Smithfield Foods has imposed on citizens.


An Alternative To Net Neutrality

by Richard A. Epsteinvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Many people worry without explicit prohibitions, internet service providers would prioritize traffic from big businesses in a way that would harm innovation and stifle competition. But the internet has operated for decades without needing explicit regulations, and remedies already exist for the types of abuses many are concerned about. Promoting competition among internet service providers offers consumers far greater protection than heavy handed regulation tomorrow.

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Harvard’s Asian Exclusion

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, August 6, 2018

The University’s tortured defense of its treatment of a meritorious minority

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When Courts Play Public Nuisance

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 30, 2018

A billion-dollar judgment against two companies for old, innocuous circulars. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Supreme Court Tackles Patent Reform: Inter Partes Review Under The AIA Undermines The Structural Protections Offered By Article III Courts

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Federalist Society
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

In Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, the Supreme Court, by a seven-to-two vote, upheld the controversial provisions of the America Invents Act (AIA) that allow for inter partes review (IPR) before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) after the final issuance of a patent. Petitioners argued unsuccessfully that the AIA’s IPR procedures violated Article III and the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution. The majority opinion was written by Justice Clarence Thomas on behalf of Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Kagan, and Sotomayor. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a short dissent in which Chief Justice Roberts joined.

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Progressives Come After Brett Kavanaugh

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 16, 2018

Overwrought liberal critics cast the judge as a right-wing ideologue.

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Abortion, Compelled Speech, And The Supreme Court

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 9, 2018

The next Justice should safeguard religious liberty from government intervention.

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Textualism? It Has Its Limits

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 9, 2018

Even the most faithful judges sometimes have to read between the lines.

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Donald Trump’s Trade Travesty

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, July 2, 2018

Presidential hubris is no substitute for rational policy.


SCOTUS Breaks From New Deal Mode With Unions Ruling

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Hill
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Justice Anthony Kennedy has retired from the United States Supreme Court the day on which he was in the five-member majority in what may turn out to be the most consequential decision of the term — Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.