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Back to Berkeley: Richard Epstein’s 
The Dubious Morality of Modern Administrative Law

January 22, 2020 | 12:45 – 2:00 PM
LAW | Room 132

Event Description

On Wednesday, January 22, Richard Epstein—the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School—visited the law school to discuss his upcoming book, The Dubious Morality of Modern Administrative Law. Berkeley Law Professor Dan Farber provided commentary at the event (co-sponsored by the Federalist Society and the Public Law & Policy Program), which saw over 75 students and faculty in attendance. 

Epstein is one of the nation’s most influential legal scholars and the author of numerous articles on legal and interdisciplinary subjects. He has taught courses in administrative law, antitrust law, and constitutional law, among many others. At NYU, he serves as a Director of the Classical Liberal Institute, which he helped found in 2013. In addition to his work at NYU, he is the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Chicago and has served as the Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 2000. 

Epstein questioned the moral standing of the modern administrative state.  He argued that a modest federal administrative state was well suited to an earlier age of limited government. But the modern administrative state has metastasized far beyond its original roots.  But he claimed that the modern delegation of authority brought by the Progressive Era and the New Deal could lead to systematic abuse of power in a wide range of areas, such as environmental and labor law.  Epstein concluded with his worry that the modern administrative state has lost its original connections to democratic legitimacy and that its claims to expertise are eroding.