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

Analysis and Commentary

DC's 'Odd Couple' Was Bound To Clash

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Hill
Thursday, October 5, 2017

The "Odd Couple," with Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, made movie history nearly 50 years ago when the sloppy Oscar invites his buttoned-up friend Felix to move with him after Felix’s ex-wife left for greener pastures. In this comedic masterpiece, the two were like “chalk and cheese” when forced to live together in close quarters.

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We Need Flatter Taxes, Cleaner Rules

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Trump plan is imperfect, but moves us toward a simpler tax code.


The Role Of Defeat Devices On Environmental Protection: Beyond The VW Scandal

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Forbes
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

One of the most dramatic scandals in recent years stemmed from the systematic and protracted efforts of Volkswagen to cover up the high level of dangerous, indeed deadly, pollutants emitted by its fleet diesel VW, Audi, and Porsche cars in ordinary road use.  Between 2009 and 2015, VW sold about 580,000 of these cars in the United States, and about 10.5 million cars elsewhere before the scandal in September 2015.

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Farewell To Title IX’s Kangaroo Courts

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Betsy DeVos wisely reverses the Obama administration’s policy on campus sexual assault cases. 

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The Fatal Allure of Single Payer

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

The ardent pleas of Bernie Sanders won’t make a socialist system work.

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The Way Forward On DACA

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

Trump and Sessions should announce support for the program—precisely as it is. 

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When Women Earn Less Than Men

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The reasons lie with personal priorities, not discrimination.

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Free Speech In The Crosshairs

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, August 28, 2017

Does Charlottesville require us to rethink free speech? 

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Trump’s Flawed Protectionism

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, August 21, 2017

Hardball on NAFTA makes it more difficult to tackle China’s cheating on trade.

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by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, August 14, 2017

“Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” the memo written by Google’s now-fired software engineer James Damore, addresses a taboo topic in modern American life—namely, sex differences that relate to the abilities and occupational choices of men and women.