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

Policy InsightsFeatured

Policy Insights: Immigration Reform

featuring Edward Paul Lazear, Timothy Kane, David R. Henderson, Tom Church, John H. Cochrane, Lanhee J. Chen, Clint Bolick, Richard A. Epsteinvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Immigration is a contentious topic. To complicate it further, immigration should often be broken down into several distinct topics. It can mean legal or illegal immigration, it can mean permanent or temporary visas, and it can mean preventing future flows or managing existing stocks.

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Does Capitalism Cause Social Decay?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Sunday, March 24, 2019

As material conditions improve, do more people feel anxious and depressed? 

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The Libertarian: In Defense Of The Electoral College

interview with Richard A. Epsteinvia The Libertarian
Friday, March 22, 2019

Despite Elizabeth Warren’s criticisms, it’s still the best way to pick a president.

In the News

On Asbestos Blame, Supreme Court Is Still At Sea

quoting Richard A. Epsteinvia Cato Institute
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

With Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts crossing over to join the liberals, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 today in Air & Liquid Systems v. DeVries that federal maritime law permits seafarers claiming asbestos-related ailments to sue manufacturers of ship components such as boilers and turbines that contained no asbestos, on the grounds that they knew that the mineral would be used in conjunction with their product later in such forms as insulation or connective gaskets.

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A Return To Economic Liberty

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 18, 2019

Lochner should not be likened to decisions that validated slavery, segregation, and internment. 

In the News

Scalia V. Epstein - 35 Years Later

quoting Richard A. Epstein, Clint Bolickvia Reason
Sunday, March 17, 2019

At the Federalist Society Student Symposium this weekend, Arizona State Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick recalled the 1984 debate between then-judge Antonin Scalia and Professor Richard Epstein over whether the federal judiciary should take a more active role in protecting economic liberty. Professor Epstein, as one might expect, argued in the affirmative. Then-judge Scalia (who would be elevated to the Supreme Court soon thereafter) urged greater restraint, suggesting it would be dangerous to unleash federal judges in this way.


Discrimination And The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team

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

The road to social justice is often marred by unanticipated pitfalls. Two weeks ago, 28 members of the world champion U.S. women’s national soccer team filed a high-profile lawsuit alleging they were the victims of discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation, the common employer of both the women’s and men’s national teams. The lawsuit does not pull its punches. It alleges that for years female athletes have been subject to “institutionalized gender discrimination” that has crimped their economic opportunities, hurt their training regimen and compromised their medical attention.

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The Libertarian: Anti-Semitism On The Left

interview with Richard A. Epsteinvia The Libertarian
Friday, March 15, 2019

The Ilhan Omar controversy exposes a growing problem amongst Democrats.

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Reasonable Disagreements: Warren And Holder Want To Break Tech And The Supreme Court

interview with Richard A. Epstein, Adam J. Whitevia Reasonable Disagreements
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Would breaking apart tech companies and packing the Supreme Court achieve anything positive?

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Plunder At Love Field

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, March 11, 2019

No government should order the willful destruction of private property without just compensation.