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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In Defense Of Abortion’s Messy Status Quo

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, May 20, 2019

Alabama is baiting the Supreme Court to strike down Roe v. Wade.

cartoon of elephant going head-to-head with donkey
Analysis and Commentary

The Democrats Lurch Hard To The Left

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Las Vegas Review Journal
Saturday, May 18, 2019

As we are now in the early stages of the presidential sweepstakes, it seems beyond doubt that President Donald Trump — notwithstanding his shaky approval ratings — will emerge as the Republican standard bearer in the 2020 election. On the Democratic side, the polls give this surprising message: The entry of Joe Biden into the campaign has turned things around overnight.

Interviews

Richard Epstein On The John Batchelor Show (Part 1 Of 2)

interview with Richard A. Epsteinvia The John Batchelor Show
Saturday, May 18, 2019

(Part 1) Hoover Institution fellow Richard Epstein discusses his Defining Ideas article "The President's Privilege."

Interviews

Richard Epstein On The John Batchelor Show (Part 2 Of 2)

interview with Richard A. Epsteinvia The John Batchelor Show
Saturday, May 18, 2019

(Part 2) Hoover Institution fellow Richard Epstein discusses his Defining Ideas article "The President's Privilege."

Interviews

Richard Epstein and John Yoo On Law Talk

interview with Richard A. Epstein, John Yoovia Law Talk With Epstein, Yoo & Senik
Thursday, May 16, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Richard Epstein and John Yoo discuss the following legal controversies: what do Alabama’s new restrictions on abortion mean for the future of Roe v. Wade? What’s the proper libertarian position on compulsory vaccinations? Does Congress have a leg to stand on in its pursuit of Bill Barr? Was Harvard wrong to turn its back on a professor who’s defending Harvey Weinstein? And then, the professors finally answer the question you’ve waited years for: are bans on toplessness unconstitutional?

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

Fellows With Friedman

featuring John H. Cochrane, Michael J. Boskin, David R. Henderson, Thomas Sowell, Richard A. Epstein, Alvin Rabushka, Robert E. Hallvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 16, 2019

In a Wall Street Journalop-ed, “America Needs an Alternative Maximum Tax,” John Cochrane proposes a new kind of tax that caps the amount that people would pay in taxes to prevent indefinite tax-rate hikes. He asks, “How much is the most anyone should have to pay? When do taxes indisputably start to harm the economy and produce less revenue—when government takes 50% of people's income? 60%? 70%?” If there is a maximum amount that an individual pays, then once past that cap they wouldn’t pay any further federal income tax for that year.

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The Libertarian: Vaccination, Religious Liberty, And Public Health

interview with Richard A. Epsteinvia The Libertarian
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How the measles outbreak illustrates the limits of individual liberty.

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The President's Privilege

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, May 13, 2019

The flap over the Mueller report is not a rerun of Watergate as some Democrats claim.

Interviews

Richard Epstein: Trump's Attitude Toward The Congressional Demands Is "Bring It On."

interview with Richard A. Epsteinvia The John Batchelor Show
Saturday, May 11, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Richard Epstein discusses President Trump's attitude toward congressional demands.

Interviews

Richard Epstein: FTC Duns Facebook For $5 Billion & What Is To Be Done? (Part 1)

interview with Richard A. Epsteinvia The John Batchelor Show
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Richard Epstein discusses his Defining Ideas article "The FTC Unfriends Facebook."

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