John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law, Emerita
Former President, American Civil Liberties Union, 1991–2008
Nadine Strossen, the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law Emerita at New York Law School and past President of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008), is a Senior Fellow with FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education) and a leading expert and frequent speaker/media commentator on constitutional law and civil liberties, who has testified before Congress on multiple occasions. She serves on the advisory boards of the ACLU, Academic Freedom Alliance, Heterodox Academy, National Coalition Against Censorship, and the University of Austin.
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 (2017). In 2023, the National Coalition Against Censorship (an alliance of more than 50 national non-profit organizations) selected Strossen for its Judy Blume Lifetime Achievement Award for Free Speech.
When Strossen stepped down as ACLU President, three (ideologically diverse) Supreme Court Justices participated in her farewell/tribute luncheon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and David Souter.
She is the author of HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship (2018) and Free Speech: What Everyone Needs to Know (forthcoming fall 2023). She is also the Host and Project Consultant for Free To Speak, a 3-hour documentary film series on free speech scheduled for release on public television in fall 2023.
Her book Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights was named a New York Times “notable book” of 1995, and will be republished in 2024 as part of the New York University Press “Classic” series. Her book HATE was selected as the “Common Read” by Washington University and Washburn University.
Strossen has made thousands of public presentations before diverse audiences around the world, including on more than 500 different campuses and in many foreign countries, and she has appeared on virtually every national TV news program. Her hundreds of publications have appeared in many scholarly and general interest publications.
Strossen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. Before becoming a law professor, she practiced law in Minneapolis (her hometown) and New York City. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.