Professor of law at the University of Chicago


Richard Epstein - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Richard A. Epstein, born in 1943, is currently the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He has written on a wide variety of legal topics, and is known for a generally libertarian approach to issues in legal theory. Epstein is well-known for his arguments against anti-discrimination laws, among other positions. At the Law School, Epstein is known for his cheerful, talkative manner as well as his confident views. He prefers to be identified as a classical liberal rather than as a libertarian. ..."

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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


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

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., by Richard Epstein, 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
    by Richard Epstein, 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
    by Richard Epstein, 1992
Related Topic: Labor
Free Markets Under Siege: Cartels, Politics and Social Welfare
    by Richard Epstein, 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?
    by Richard Epstein, 1997
Related Topic: Health Care
Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty With the Common Good
    by Richard Epstein, 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
    by Richard Epstein, 1995
Related Topic: Law
Skepticism and Freedom: A Modern Case for Classical Liberalism
    by Richard Epstein, 2003
Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain
    by Richard Epstein, 1985