The Dubious Morality of Modern Administrative Law

The Dubious Morality of Modern Administrative Law | Richard Epstein

Tuesday, February 8, 2022 | Room 105, Berkeley Law

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Richard A. Epstein, one of America’s most prominent legal scholars, provides a withering critique of how the administrative state has gone astray since the New Deal.

First examining how federal administrative powers worked well in an earlier age of limited government, dealing with such issues as land grants, patents, tariffs and government employment contracts, Epstein then explains how modern broad mandates for delegated authority are inconsistent with the rule of law and lead to systematic abuse in a wide range of subject matter areas: environmental law; labor law; food and drug law; communications laws, securities law and more. He offers detailed critiques of major administrative laws that are now under reconsideration in the Supreme Court and provides recommendations as to how the Supreme Court can roll back the administrative state in a coherent way.


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 (Moderator) 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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