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

Justice Antonin Scalia discusses the premise of his book, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.
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Scalia Maligned

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, March 7, 2016

A broadside attack of originalism is sloppy, flawed, and vulgar. 


Whole Woman’s Health In The Supreme Court: When Does Regulation Count As An Undue Burden?

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Saturday, March 5, 2016

In its first major argument since the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the newly constituted eight-member Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt had a spirited session on whether the twin requirements of Texas Law H.B. 2 constituted an “undue burden” on a women’s constitutional right to have an abortion set out in 1992 Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

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The Real Cause Of American Growth

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, February 29, 2016

A popular new book inexplicably ignores how laissez-faire capitalism drives innovation.

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Apple’s iPhone Blunder

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, February 22, 2016

Helping the government unlock the San Bernardino killer’s phone will not threaten anyone’s privacy rights. 

Analysis and Commentary

Epstein On The Apple E-Books Case: The Hidden Traps In The Apple Ebook Case

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Truth on the Market
Monday, February 15, 2016

On balance the Second Circuit was right to apply the antitrust laws to Apple. Right now the Supreme Court has before it a petition for Certiorari, brought by Apple, Inc., which asks the Court to reverse the decision of the Second Circuit.

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Antonin Scalia, A Most Memorable Friend

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, February 15, 2016

We didn’t always agree on judicial philosophy, but his legacy will be enduring. 

Green Energy
Analysis and Commentary

Supreme Court Puts The Clean Power Plan On Hold

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Ricochet
Thursday, February 11, 2016

On February 8, the United States Supreme Court issued a terse order that by a five-to-four vote enjoined the Environmental Protection Agency from taking any steps to implement its Clean Power Plan. That most ambitious plan sought to impose a comprehensive long-term set of limitations on the use of coal, and indeed all energy sources, inside the United States.

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The Flint Fiasco

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, February 8, 2016

The lesson? It’s too dangerous to leave public health and safety to the government. 

Analysis and Commentary

Innovation And Inequality: The Separability Thesis

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy
Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The topic of this Essay concerns the interaction between innovation in areas of intellectual property on the one hand and the demand for greater equality of income and wealth in society on the other. Whatever one thinks of the latter objective, I think that it is a social mistake to link these two separate topics together.

Federal Reserve building
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Why Fiscal Stimulus Fails

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, February 1, 2016

Interest rate adjustments won’t grow the economy, but overturning unneeded regulations and high taxes will.