John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law, Emerita
Former President, American Civil Liberties Union, 1991–2008
Nadine Strossen has written, taught, and advocated extensively in the areas of constitutional law and civil liberties, including through frequent media interviews. From 1991 to 2008, she served as President of the American Civil Liberties Union, the first woman to head the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization. Professor Strossen is currently a member of the ACLU’s National Advisory Council, as well as the Advisory Boards of Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Heterodox Academy, and the National Coalition Against Censorship. When she stepped down as ACLU President in 2008, three Supreme Court Justices participated in her farewell and tribute luncheon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and David Souter.
Her 2018 book, HATE: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship, has been widely praised by ideologically diverse experts. Her earlier book, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights, was named by The New York Times as a “Notable Book” of 1995.
The National Law Journal has named Strossen one of America’s "100 Most Influential Lawyers," and several other publications have named her one of the country’s most influential women. Her many honorary degrees and awards include the American Bar Association’s prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. At New York Law School’s 2019 commencement, Strossen attained the unique distinction of winning both the award for outstanding teaching and the award for the best book.
Professor Strossen has made thousands of public presentations before diverse audiences, including on more than 500 campuses and in many foreign countries, and has commented frequently on legal issues in the national media. In October 2001, she made her professional theater debut as the guest star in Eve Ensler’s award-winning play The Vagina Monologues during a weeklong run at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Professor Strossen’s writings have been published in many scholarly and general-interest publications. Her co-authored book, Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex: Hate Speech, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, was named an “outstanding book” by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.
In 1986, Professor Strossen became one of the first three women to receive the U.S. Jaycees’ Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award; she was also the first American woman to win the Jaycees International’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World Award. She has received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from the University of Rhode Island, the University of Vermont, San Joaquin College of Law, Rocky Mountain College, the Massachusetts School of Law, and Mount Holyoke College.
Professor Strossen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.