From left: Thomas Tisch, Richard Revesz, Alice Tisch, Richard Epstein, Eileen EpsteinOn September 27, Richard Epstein presented a full-throated defense of the Supreme Court’s controversial campaign-finance ruling earlier this year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Epstein's talk served as the inaugural lecture commemorating the establishment of the Laurence A. Tisch Professorship of Law and his selection as the first faculty member to hold that chair. He became a full-time, tenured member of the faculty in July.

Alice M. and Thomas J. Tisch '79 endowed the professorship in memory of Tom’s father, Larry, who had a long and hugely influential role at the University. He served as an NYU trustee for more than 30 years and as chair of the board for nearly two decades. Larry earned his undergraduate degree cum laude from NYU in 1942, when he was 18, got an M.B.A. from Wharton, and then went on to an enormously successful business career. Starting with a single hotel in Lakewood, New Jersey, Larry and his brother Preston Robert Tisch, known as Bob, built what became known as Loews Corporation into a major diversified holding company. Like Larry, Alice and Tom have long had a deep involvement with the University. They are trustees of the NYU Langone Medical Center, and Alice is board co-chair for NYU KiDS, which supports children’s health services at the medical center.

In his lecture, Epstein, who is noted for his wide-ranging scholarship, waded into a complex area of constitutional law pertaining to regulation of campaign speech. The Citizens United ruling struck down portions of the McCain-Feingold law that restrict corporate and union election spending. In his characteristically blunt style, Epstein said that critics who say the case is at odds with the intent of the framers and threatens to drown out individuals and take control of politics are “wrong on both counts.”

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Posted September 29, 2010