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

The Christmas Tree Effect

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

Well, the gong has struck, now that a closely divided House of Representatives has failed to approve round one of the bailout program...

Analysis and Commentary

Greed, Or Incentives?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It had been my devout wish to write a set of disinterested columns about labor markets to illustrate the power of the presumption against state regulation of voluntary agreements...

Analysis and Commentary

The Libertarian Manifesto

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Monday, September 15, 2008

Online columnists, it is said, should not suffer from an abundance of caution or subtlety...

Analysis and Commentary

Source for the goose should be source for the gander

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Financial Times
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jamie Boyle’s sensible defence of open-source software starts in a disarming way, by suggesting that the Federal Circuit’s decision in Jacobsen v Katzer, which upheld the validity of an open-source copyright claim, was one of those dry-as-dust decisions that only intellectual property geeks could love...

Eminent Domain Issues

Eminently Unjust

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Friday, June 27, 2008

Give government too much discretion in eminent-domain cases, and you’ll get not justice or efficiency but favoritism and intrigue. By Richard A. Epstein.

Analysis and Commentary

How to Complicate Habeas Corpus

by Richard A. Epsteinvia New York Times
Saturday, June 21, 2008

LAST week’s Supreme Court decision in Boumediene v. Bush settled a key constitutional issue: all prisoners detained at Guantánamo Bay are constitutionally entitled to bring habeas corpus in federal court to challenge the legality of their detention...

Analysis and Commentary

The Microsoft consent decree: a good start gone bad

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Financial Times
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Just recently, I attended a conference at the University of Virginia, sponsored by the American Bar Association, tackling “Remedies for Dominant Firm Misconduct.” Its arcane title obscures the critical importance of this issue for the long-term prosperity of high-tech industries...

Maverick in the Courtroom

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stand up for limited government and property rights, and you’ll usually stand alone. By Richard A. Epstein.

Analysis and Commentary

Net Neutrality and Spectrum Auctions

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Heartland Institute
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The just-completed FCC auction of key 700 MHz spectrum has generated intense controversy in the past months, and more than its fair share of political infighting and surprises...

Analysis and Commentary

Anonymous judging in the EU

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Financial Times
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

In 1895, Rudyard Kipling wrote: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” ...

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