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 (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

Analysis and Commentary

Can Parents Name Their Child 'Adolf Hitler'?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."...

How do you run a bailout?

How Do You Run a Bailout?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 22, 2009

By keeping some troubled paper, dumping some lousy mortgages, and taking a vow of political fortitude. That’s how. By Richard A. Epstein.

Analysis and Commentary

Death, Taxes And Politics

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One of the major changes in tax policy that marks this Inauguration Day is President (!) Barack Obama's decision to keep death--or is it transfer?--taxes on the books...

Analysis and Commentary

Democratic Death Wish On Labor Relations

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

American labor markets are in horrible shape...

Analysis and Commentary

Deadly And Proportionate Force: The Tragedy Of Hamas

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The breakdown of the uneasy truce between Israel and Hamas once again exposes the open conceptual wounds that surround the law of self-defense...

Analysis and Commentary

Misguided Macroeconomics

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The arrival of the new year always is an occasion to reflect on past failures and to make resolutions for the future...

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The Employee Free Choice Act Is Unconstitutional

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Friday, December 19, 2008

With the Employee Free Choice Act, unions and their backers seek to reverse seventy unbroken years of the National Labor Relations Act.

Analysis and Commentary

The Employee Free Choice Act Is Unconstitutional

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Wall Street Journal
Friday, December 19, 2008

A top priority of the incoming Democratic Congress and Obama administration is the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act...

Analysis and Commentary

How To Encourage Organ Donation

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Libertarian theory lauds the mutual gains from trade generated by voluntary exchanges between persons of ordinary competence...

Analysis and Commentary

Back to Basics for New Zealand Labour Markets

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Centre for Political Research (New Zealand)
Saturday, December 13, 2008

When I first visited New Zealand in July of 1990 at the invitation of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, one mission stood out above all...

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