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

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The Libertarian: Harold Demsetz And The Legacy Of The Chicago School

interview with Richard A. Epsteinvia The Libertarian
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

How a group of renegade academics reshaped our understanding of economics.

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Potemkin Politicians

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 25, 2019

“New socialists” face the same impossible task as the old ones: to construct a functioning society on completely false premises.

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Are There Limits on Emergency Powers? With John Yoo and Richard Epstein

interview with Richard A. Epstein, John Yoovia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, January 25, 2019

AUDIO ONLY

Richard Epstein and John Yoo deconstruct presidential powers concerning the government shutdown, the Mueller investigation, and the potential for impeachment by the Democrat-controlled House.

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Are There Limits On Emergency Powers? With John Yoo And Richard Epstein

interview with John Yoo, Richard A. Epsteinvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, January 25, 2019

Richard Epstein and John Yoo deconstruct presidential powers concerning the government shutdown, the Mueller investigation, and the potential for impeachment by the Democrat-controlled House.

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Free Trade

featuring Milton Friedman, John B. Taylor, John H. Cochrane , Edward Paul Lazear, Michael J. Boskin, Richard A. Epstein, Russell Roberts, Tom Churchvia PolicyEd
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

After a generation of trade liberalizations, many Americans—on the left and the right—are having second thoughts.

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Beware Of Populist Antitrust Law

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Professor Tim Wu of Columbia University has emerged as America’s most vocal champion of populist antitrust policies. His recent book—The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust law in the New Gilded Age— is a direct takeoff of the work of Louis D. Brandeis, who coined this phrase “the curse of bigness,” before he joined the Supreme Court in 1916.. Wu is on record, for predicting that the consolidation of American businesses is the prelude to more inequality and human suffering, leading in some instances to the rise of fascism.

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Immigration And The Census

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Judge Furman was on solid legal ground in striking down the Trump Administration’s citizenship question.

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The Greatness Of Harold Demsetz

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, January 14, 2019

America has lost one of its most powerful and original economic minds.

Gender Equality?
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On The Basis Of Sex

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, January 7, 2019

Ginsburg's gender crusade, while noble, also created market distortions.

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Chicago's New Obama Burden

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, December 17, 2018

The public trust doctrine should keep the Presidential Center out of Jackson Park.

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