Reason’s Nick Gillespie interviewed Professor Richard Epstein at the New York University Law School last month. As the Reason TV post notes, the conversation was wide-ranging and high-energy. Indeed, the video seems to have been edited to eliminate conversational pauses and deliver Epstein at something closer to the speed of thought. Under normal circumstances it’s difficult to keep up with Professor Epstein, but the video heightens the degree of difficulty.
Among the subjects discussed are the legal challenges to Obamacare, the effects of stimulus spending and TARP bailouts, the imprudence of tax increases to reduce the deficit, and a former University of Chicago adjunct faculty member by the name of Barack Obama, with whom Epstein regularly interacted in the 1990s and early 2000s. “He passed through Chicago without absorbing much of the internal culture,” says Epstein of Obama. “He’s amazingly good at playing intellectual poker. But that’s a disadvantage, because if you don’t put your ideas out there to be shot down, you’re never gonna figure out what kind of revision you want.”
Smack dab in the middle of the conversation, Professor Epstein discusses his work on the TCF National Bank lawsuit against the Federal Reserve. The lawsuit seeks to invalidate an amendment of the Dodd-Frank bill that was appended at the last minute by Senator Durbin. Durbin’s amendment directs the Federal Reserve to prescribe the interchange fees charged on debit card transactions at the incremental cost of the transaction incurred by the issuer of the debit card — if the issuer is a bank with over $10 billion in assets.
TCF has retained Professor Epstein to advise it in the lawsuit. Professor Epstein has rendered the opinion that the Durbin Amendment is blatantly unconstitutional. I discussed the lawsuit at some length in the post “A lawsuit for the age of Obama,” which is a good companion to Professor Epstein’s comments.
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