Professor of law at the University of Chicago
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  • Richard Epstein

    Richard Allen Epstein (born 17 April 1943) is an American legal scholar best known for his writings and studies on classical liberalism, libertarianism, torts, contracts and a wide variety of topics in law and economics. Epstein is currently the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law and director of the Classical Liberal Institute at New York University, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.


    Epstein, Richard A. (1943-), by Aaron Steelman, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Richard A. Epstein, a law professor and legal theorist, teaches at the University of Chicago Law School and is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is one of the leading legal scholars in the United States and a prominent libertarian author. Epstein's work on eminent domain brought him fame when Senator Joseph Biden held up a copy of Epstein's book Takings during the 1991 confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. ... Epstein also has challenged established wisdom on employment discrimination laws, arguing that government intervention in employment contracts is unnecessary and even undesirable."
    Related Topic: Libertarianism

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    Awards Received

    1992 Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, granted by Center for Independent Thought, Thomas S. Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, 1992


    Cato Institute, Adjunct Scholar
    Hoover Institution, Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow
    Independent Institute, Research Fellow
    University of Chicago, James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law

    Web Pages

    Richard Epstein - Libertarian
    Advocates for Self-Government


    An End to Eminent Domain Abuse?, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, Apr 2005
    Published just two months before the unfortunate Kelo v. City of New London U.S. Supreme Court decision, expressed hope that the court would rectify the 1954 Berman v. Parker ruling
    "A devastating amicus curiae brief has been submitted by three Cato Institute legal scholars and University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein, a long-time critic of eminent domain whose book Takings was first published in 1985. ... The Cato/Epstein brief hits the bull's eye in observing that eminent-domain cases like this one 'result in a systematic unfairness to the individuals who are forced to sacrifice their property to some fuzzy vision of the public good.'"
    Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution, by Murray Rothbard, Cato Journal, 1982
    Examines the principles of tort law, how to determine what is just property and how to deal with invasions of property such as air pollution
    "In a brilliant analysis of causation in the law, Professor Epstein has demonstrated that his own theory of strict tort liability is intimately connected to a direct, strict, commonsense view of 'cause.' Causal proposition in a strict liability view of the law takes such form as, "A hit B,' 'A threatened B,' or 'A compelled B to hit C.'"
    On the Origins of the Modern Libertarian Legal Movement [PDF], by Roger Pilon, Chapman Law Review, 2013
    Historical survey of libertarian influences on constitutional and other areas of law, from the mid-1970s to recent decisions
    "But the lawyers also were at work at their end of the project, and none more productive or insightful than the man who arrived across the Midway a year after I got to Chicago, Richard Epstein. No stranger to philosophy—his undergraduate major at Columbia, my own alma mater—Epstein was at the time developing his theory of strict liability in torts, which dovetailed nicely with the Lockean understanding of rights, even as it contrasted with his colleague Richard Posner's negligence approach to torts."


    Life of Liberty: Robert Nozick, R.I.P., National Review Online, 24 Jan 2002
    Memorial tribute, comparing Nozick to Hayek and discussing some of the arguments he made in Anarchy, State and Utopia
    "As teacher, friend, and colleague in no particular order, he was a restless intellectual capable of enlivening every discussion with a bewildering blitz of questions that always left you one step behind. ... Nozick was, as far as I know not trained as a lawyer ..., but his ceaseless curiosity and imagination allowed him to develop by intuition a theory of justice in holdings that followed closely on the legal approach to these problems."


    Takings Exception: Maverick legal scholar Richard Epstein on property, discrimination, and the limits of state action, by Richard Epstein, Steve Chapman, Reason, Apr 1995
    Questions range from libertarian ideas, Epstein's book Takings, the Dolan v. City of Tigard case and more
    "We know that in the old days of the Polish parliament, which required unanimous votes, they often got unanimity by taking the lone dissenter and throwing him out the window. On the other hand, rampant majoritarianism means that 51 percent can indeed confiscate the wealth of all 49 percent, which is what you get under the New Deal."

    Books Authored

    Bargaining With the State, 1993
    Partial contents: Theoretical Foundations: The Problem of Coercion - Government Relations Within a Federal System - Economic Liberties and Property Rights - Positivie Rights in the Welfare State
    Related Topic: The State
    Forbidden Grounds: The Case Against Employment Discrimination Laws, 1992
    Related Topic: Labor
    Free Markets Under Siege: Cartels, Politics and Social Welfare, 2003
    Contents: Modern Justifications for Classical Liberalism - Between Socialism and Libertarianism - Competition and Cartels - Agricultural Markets, Protectionism, and Cartels - Cartels in Labor Markets - The Importance of Getting the Easy Cases Right
    Related Topic: Free Market
    Mortal Peril: Our Inalienable Right to Health Care?, 1997
    Related Topic: Health Care
    Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty With the Common Good, 1998
    Partial contents: Natural Law: The Utilitarian Connection - Social Norms versus Legal Commands - Harm: The Gateway to Liability - The Benefit Principle - Altruism: Its Uses and Limits - Forfeiture: The Flip Side of Rights - Boundaries: Firm and Fuzzy
    Related Topic: Individual Liberty
    • ISBN 0201136465: Hardcover, Addison-Wesley, 1998
    • ISBN 0738200417: Hardcover, Perseus Books, 1998
    • ISBN 0738208299: Paperback, Perseus Publishing, New edition, 2002
    Simple Rules for a Complex World, 1995
    Related Topic: Law
    Skepticism and Freedom: A Modern Case for Classical Liberalism, 2003
    Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain, 1985

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Richard Epstein" as of 09 May 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.