Richard EpsteinIn an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on January 4, Richard Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, discusses a case in which a New York City landlord has asked the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of rent control and stabilization. “Rent control and rent stabilization are inimical to the long-term health of New York City,” Epstein argues. “Ordinary tenants paying market rents contribute their fair share to the public treasury. By contrast, rent-controlled tenants on lifetime leases who have a specially privileged legal status are a constant drain on the community, discouraging investment in residential rental real estate by posing a persistent if inchoate threat of subjecting future properties to rent control.”

On January 12, in a posting on SCOTUSblog, Epstein takes issue with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Pacific Operators OffShore v. Valladoli, which addresses an offshore oil drilling company’s liability for the fatal injury of a worker under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). “Let us hope that when this case makes it way down to the lower courts, they use a bit of clear theory to put this case out of its prolonged misery,” he writes.  “The Supreme Court should have done that itself. . . It is very costly for the Supreme Court to punt on private law theory, but that is what we can expect when all the new appointments to the Court will have predominantly public law backgrounds.”

Posted January 13, 2012