Judging the Justices: Epstein And Yoo On The New Originalist Supreme Court

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 | Hoover Institute

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In what has now become an annual tradition on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, law professors John Yoo and Richard Epstein join the show to opine on a newly minted Supreme Court. For the first time in decades, today’s court is dominated by a majority of originalist justices—justices who believe the Constitution means today just what the document meant when it was ratified more than 200 years ago. The professors discuss and analyze Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (the case that may overturn Roe v. Wade), the court’s ruling on mask mandates, voting rights legislation, and other cases to watch. The professors also reminisce about the time the current president of the United States waved a book authored by a then unknown law professor on national television during Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing. As usual, our yearly show with professors Epstein and Yoo is the closest you can get to law school without having to take the LSATs.


Richard A. Epstein

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 (2014). 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.

John C. Yoo is the Emanuel Heller Professor of Law and director of the Korea Law Center, the California Constitution Center, and the Law School’s Program in Public Law and Policy at Berkeley Law. His most recent book is Defender in Chief: Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power (St. Martin’s 2020). Professor Yoo is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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