Richard Epstein fans know that, when it comes to legal analysis, all roads lead to Rome. For years we’ve been ribbing Richard about his propensity to analyze current legal disputes through the prism of Roman law. Now we’ve finally buckled to the pressure and given him an entire episode on the topic. In this show, Richard explains why Roman Law remains relevant today; why it made especially valuable contributions on the topic of water law; how a failure to understand Roman law has weakened Supreme Court decisions; and what the connection is between the Romans and the Anglo-American legal tradition.

 

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A growing number of Democratic presidential candidates are calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. In this episode, Richard Epstein explains what drove the Founders to construct this complex system for picking presidents; warns of the practical dangers of relying purely on the popular vote; looks at how Maine and Nebraska have constructed variations on the winner-take-all system; and explains why the inability to pass constitutional amendments is a feature rather than a bug in the current political environment.

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As Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to get Brexit across the finish line, many MPs are complaining that he’s violating constitutional norms. In this episode, Richard Epstein considers those criticisms; weighs the cases for and against a departure from the EU; explains how the European Union overshot the legitimate goals of continental integration; and describes how Britain’s “unwritten constitution,” far from being an English aberration, actually has echoes in the American system.

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A growing chorus of activists claim that American corporations are too focused on the bottom line — and not sufficiently dedicated to improving the broader society. Even some figures from the business community have begun to call for corporations to move from a narrow focus on shareholders to a much more expansive commitment to “stakeholders.” In this episode, Richard Epstein explains how such efforts blur the lines between private business, charity, and government; why a corporation’s responsibility to shareholders isn’t inherently anti-social; And where progressive critiques of corporate governance and “quarterly capitalism” fall short.

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With signs of a possible recession on the horizon, Richard Epstein considers some of the purported causes and proposed solutions. Is President Trump right that the Federal Reserve needs to be more accommodating? Are the disruptions from the trade war with China worth it because of their potential geopolitical dividends? Is cutting payroll taxes a reasonable way to jumpstart the economy? And are we better off letting recessions burn themselves out rather than seeking to arrest them through government intervention?

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Richard Epstein analyzes the multitude of Democratic gun control proposals in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, proposes an alternative strategy for dealing with mass gun violence, and weighs the merits of proposed “red flag” laws.

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Richard Epstein describes the catastrophic consequences that single-payer healthcare will have for both the economy and the medical profession.

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Richard Epstein uses new cases from Chicago and San Diego — in both of which he is serving as counsel — to illustrate how government land use regulations often serve the desires of powerful interests while harming everyday citizens.

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Richard Epstein shares his memories of the moon landing and reflects on what NASA’s history says about the capabilities — and limits — of the federal government.

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Richard Epstein looks back on the career of the late Justice John Paul Stevens, reviewing some of his most consequential judicial decisions.

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Richard Epstein analyzes a recent Second Circuit decision that President Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking Twitter followers.

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Richard Epstein provides a thorough analysis of the intellectual history of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

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Richard Epstein provides an in-depth history of takings law, examining the protections against government appropriation of private property. Along the way he considers the recent Supreme Court ruling in Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, which greatly expands the rights of property owners.

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A new strain of conservative intellectuals think an embrace of free-market economics should take a backseat to a more communitarian approach. At the same time, an energized group of progressives wants to dramatically expand the reach of the federal government. Both groups take as read that the free market isn’t adequately serving the public’s needs. Richard Epstein examines those claims and explains the vital factor missing from both diagnoses: the importance of civil society.

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Richard Epstein explains the parameters of antitrust law — and why the efforts to apply it to Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon are misguided.

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Richard Epstein considers whether Donald Trump has correctly assessed the threat from Chinese trade practices, analyzes whether widespread tariff increases are an effective tool to combat them, and explains why he reluctantly prefers Trump’s economic policies over those that may have emerged from a more conventional Republican president.

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Richard Epstein examines the difficult legal and philosophical questions that emerge when widespread opt-outs from vaccination threaten herd immunity.

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Richard Epstein breaks down the fight between the Justice Department and the House over the Mueller Report, providing a history of executive privilege (what it is, what it isn’t, and where it came from), an examination of what it really means for Congress to hold someone in contempt, and explains when and under what circumstances the White House can prevent congressional testimony.

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As congressional Democrats accuse Attorney General William Barr of deliberate deception and Trump Administration officials refuse to honor congressional subpoenas, the executive and legislative branches find themselves on a collision course.

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Richard Epstein examines the controversies attending the Mueller Report and finds few heroes amidst the partisan squabbling.

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