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

Interviews

Law Talk With Richard Epstein: Well Dressed

interview with Richard A. Epstein, John Yoovia Ricochet
Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Richard Epstein and John Yoo discuss whether Michael Cohen’s testimony will change anything about the case against Trump; can the president’s emergency measures to build a border wall stand up in court;  whether the Supreme Court’s blow against civil asset forfeiture actually represents a constitutional error; and is a group of states about to take down the electoral college?

Analysis and Commentary

‘On Freedom’ Review: Nudged To Be Free

by Richard A. Epsteinvia The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, February 27, 2019

[Subscription Required] We can lose our way when offered too many choices. But are we at liberty when social forces can step in to correct all our personal blunders?

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Will Happer – Climate “Denier”?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, February 25, 2019

He’s argued that higher levels of carbon dioxide have had positive value for humanity. 

In the News

The Farcical ‘Green New Deal’

quoting Richard A. Epsteinvia AEI
Saturday, February 23, 2019

That’s the title of Richard Epstein’s latest Hoover Institution article, here’s the opening: The dominant source of energy for the foreseeable future for both the United States and the world will be fossil fuels, chiefly in the form of oil, natural gas, and coal. Throughout the world, many groups will push hard for massive subsidies to wind and solar energy. Yet, that attempt, no matter how bold, will fail to shift the overall balance of energy production toward green sources.

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The Farcical “Green New Deal"

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, February 19, 2019

This proposal is a grab bag of sophomoric policies designed to placate the radical left.

In the News

Park Protection Lawsuit May Have Unexpected Clout

quoting Richard A. Epsteinvia The Chicago Maroon
Monday, February 18, 2019

A lawsuit filed by the environmental advocacy group Protect Our Parks (POP) has gained unexpected traction in its effort to block the arrival of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Jackson Park. Although the suit was not expected to seriously impact proceedings, a flurry of amici curiae (friends of the court) briefs and two ruling delays, most recently on February 14, have raised the question of whether the lawsuit will alter the current course of the OPC. The City approved the OPC’s proposal in May 2018.

Analysis and Commentary

Green New Deal A Peaen On To Naive Idealism

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Las Vegas Review-Journal
Saturday, February 16, 2019

The highly publicized resolution known as the Green New Deal, inspired by the fevered socialism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, insists that it is “the duty of the federal government to create a Green New Deal.” The proposal will, in time, go down as one of the nuttiest public policy documents ever written in the history of the United States.

In the News

George Will: More Government No Answer For Rigged System

quoting Richard A. Epsteinvia The Herald-Dispatch
Saturday, February 16, 2019

Norman Thomas was not easily discouraged. Running for president in 1932, three years into the shattering, terrifying Depression, which seemed to many to be a systemic crisis of capitalism, Thomas, who had been the Socialist Party's candidate in 1928 and would be in 1936, 1940, 1944 and 1948, received, as this column previously noted, fewer votes (884,885) than Eugene Debs had won (913,693) as the party's candidate in 1920, when, thanks to the wartime hysteria President Woodrow Wilson had fomented, Debs was in jail.

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The Libertarian: The Green New Deal

interview with Richard A. Epsteinvia The Libertarian
Thursday, February 14, 2019

The new policy proposal is an exercise in progressive absurdity.

In the News

Lawsuit Means Chicago Obama Library Plan No Sure Thing

quoting Richard A. Epsteinvia The Washington Times
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Odds may still favor the eventual construction of former President Barack Obama’s $500 million museum and library in a public park along Chicago’s lakeshore, but it’s no longer a sure thing in the face of a formidable legal challenge by a parks-advocacy group.

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