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 (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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Is Global Warming A Public Nuisance?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, January 15, 2018

Cities file law suits against oil companies for ‘harming the environment.’  

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The Labor Market Resurgence

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Deregulation, consistently applied, produces large gains.

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Trump's Mixed Report Card

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, December 18, 2017

Fortunately, the president’s subordinates are undoing many misguided Obama initiatives.

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California’s Single-Family Home Gridlock

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, December 11, 2017

Land-use regulations have led to shortages and exorbitant housing costs. 

Analysis and Commentary

Reactions To The FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Draft Order By Members Of The Free State Foundation's Board Of Academic Advisors

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Free State Foundation
Monday, December 4, 2017

In a historical move, the new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has released a draft text of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order that will soon be voted on by the commission. The order will roll back public-utility style regulation imposed on Internet Service Providers some two years ago. Not only has the rate of ISP infrastructure investment decreased since passage of the 2015 Open Internet Order, that order also created at least two grave problems that will be cured by restoring Internet regulation to the light-touch model the United States enjoyed for decades.

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Reasonable Searches In The Digital Age

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, December 4, 2017

The Fourth Amendment doesn’t prohibit the tracking of private individuals. 

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Let Them Bake Cake

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, November 27, 2017

The Supreme Court should end all totalitarian applications of state antidiscrimination law. 

US Department of Justice

The DOJ Should Keep Its Hands Off The AT&T Acquisition Of Time Warner

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Federalist Society
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The antitrust world is abuzz with the surprising decision of the Department of Justice to file a complaint in federal District Court to block the proposed $85 billion deal in which AT&T would acquire Time Warner. The deal is a vertical merger because the two companies work in different parts of the media cycle. AT&T is a transmission company that does not create its own content.

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Patent Respect

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, November 20, 2017

The Supreme Court has a chance to reaffirm the fundamental principle of separation of powers.

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The Income Inequality Obsession

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, November 13, 2017

When it comes to tax reform, look first to economic growth and then redistribution.