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 (2014). 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

In the News

The Employee Free Choice Act: Free Choice or No Choice for Workers

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Manhattan Institute
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 marked a major departure from common law principles, which were modified but not rejected with the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947...

Analysis and Commentary

Mandatory labor arbitration

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Washington Times
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rumors in Washington hint that the Employee Free Choice Act is in trouble...

Analysis and Commentary

Why Labor Unions Are Inefficient Monopolists

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let us begin with a parable: assume that a group of workers wish to come together to form a new business...

Analysis and Commentary

The Taxation Of Employee Health Care Benefits

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I know of no serious observer who is happy with the state of health care in the U.S.--and for good reason...

Analysis and Commentary

Favoring A Flat Tax

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Libertarians are in general less than enamored with taxation on the simple but sensible ground that most people can make better use of their own money than the government can...

Analysis and Commentary

The Public Mischief Of Public Unions

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Each new day brings further evidence of a financial breakdown that stems in large measure from the inability of the federal and state governments to live within their means...

Analysis and Commentary

The Buy American Provisions: Another Stimulus Farce

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The recent, misnamed, American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 runs a tidy 407 pages...

Analysis and Commentary

The Supreme Court's Chance To Limit Special Taxes

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In 1819, John Marshall penned this famous warning in McCulloch v. Maryland: “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.”...

Analysis and Commentary

Obama's Welcome Silence On The Employee Free Choice Act

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just about a year ago today, candidate Barack Obama received a full-throated endorsement from Andy Stern, the savvy and aggressive president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), for his unstinting support of labor-backed initiatives in both the Illinois and U.S. Senate...

Analysis and Commentary

The Regulatory Farce Under The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One of the unheralded achievements in public health in the 20th century has been the effective removal of lead from paint and gasoline...