Richard A. Epstein

Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Biography: 

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

Obama's Doomed Utopia

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August is normally a time for vacation and reinvigoration, for this author who is now in attendance at the Mont Pelerin Society meeting in Sweden...

Analysis and Commentary

A Sickly Medical Device Safety Act

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Congressional mischief comes in large packages, like health care reform, and in small bundles, like the ill-advised Medical Device Safety Act of 2009 (MDSA) which is now moving forward in both the House and Senate...

Analysis and Commentary

Cool It, Congress

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Human interactions take place either by agreement or force...

Analysis and Commentary

Will the Supreme Court stem the antipatent tide?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Financial Times
Thursday, July 30, 2009

For the past several years, the United States Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit have crafted many patent doctrines that have weakened the scope of patent protection...

Analysis and Commentary

The Power Of Protocol

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The now infamous Cambridge, Mass., incident that started when Sgt. James Crowley investigated a report of a possible break-in at the home of Henry Louis Gates, the well-known African-American Harvard professor, has dominated this past week's news...

Analysis and Commentary

Why the Obama Stimulus Plan Must Fail

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

As we now cross the six-month mark in the Obama presidency, it is becoming ever more difficult for the president to distance himself from a long string of lackluster economic reports...

Analysis and Commentary

Vanguard Or Rearguard?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rahm Emanuel's one enduring contribution to political theory is his oft-quoted aphorism that a crisis is too important to be wasted...

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The Case Against the Employee Free Choice Act

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Friday, July 10, 2009

Epstein shows how the three major components of EFCA—the card check method of union recognition, compulsory interest arbitration, and increased penalties for employer unfair labor practices—will only exaggerate the flaws of the current system and undermine the long-term set of labor practices. He presents powerful and principled reasons to explain why the decline of union membership has little to do with the supposed flaws of the current system and everything to do with globalization and technology. In addition, he demonstrates the significant constitutional challenges to both the card check and arbitration provisions.

Analysis and Commentary

Public And Private Competition In Health Care

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Today, I can see no optimistic scenario for the future of American health care...

Analysis and Commentary

An American Icon

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Cato Institute
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Robert Bork’s public career in academics and in public affairs has had, to say the least, its ups and downs...

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