Nadine Strossen Appointed John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School

Professorship Honoring Supreme Court Justice and NYLS Alum Bestowed Upon Former President of the ACLU

New York, NY (December 15, 2014) – Nadine Strossen, the first woman to head the American Civil Liberties Union, who was twice named one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” (National Law Journal), has been appointed the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School (NYLS), announced Dean and President Anthony W. Crowell. The professorship honors the memory of NYLS alumnus John Marshall Harlan II (Class of 1924), who served as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court for 16 years during the mid-twentieth century (1955-1971).

Professor Strossen has written, lectured, and practiced extensively in the areas of constitutional law, civil liberties, and international human rights for four decades. From 1991 through 2008, she served as president of the ACLU, the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization. She also has held other leadership positions in human rights organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Human Rights Watch. Currently, she is a member of the ACLU’s National Advisory Council, and was recently unanimously elected to the Board of EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center. She joined NYLS as a professor in 1988.

“Nadine Strossen is a renowned Constitutional scholar and human rights activist, who is an exceptional choice for New York Law School’s John Marshall Harlan II Professorship,” said Dean Crowell. “During the 18 years she served as ACLU president, she was one of our nation’s most visible, effective advocates for constitutional rights and civil liberties in every arena; she has repeatedly testified before Committees of the U.S. Senate and House, has spoken on more than 500 campuses throughout the U.S., has appeared on virtually every national TV news program, and has also addressed forums in many foreign countries. Her scholarship and advocacy have focused especially on free speech and privacy rights, areas in which Justice Harlan wrote landmark opinions.”

“Justice Harlan has always been one of my judicial heroes,” said Professor Strossen, “so it is a great honor to serve New York Law School as a professor in his name. Although Justice Harlan was considered a conservative, he wrote path-breaking opinions that continue to provide the foundation for rights-expanding rulings. He demonstrated that the principled, neutral defense of constitutional rights bridges the usual partisan and ideological divides. I have always especially admired this aspect of his jurisprudence, and have strived for the same kind of neutral, principled approach in my scholarship and activism.” Indeed, Strossen has earned accolades from, and worked constructively with, conservatives and liberals alike. For example, when she stepped down from the ACLU presidency, three ideologically diverse Supreme Court Justices– Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and David Souter — participated in the luncheon in her honor, with a joint tribute that Justice Ginsburg delivered as a “joint opinion” for all three.

Professor Strossen’s work has earned her many honorary degrees and awards. She has been recognized as one of the “Women Who Have Changed the World 1976-1996” (Working Woman); the “100 Executives Leading The Digital Revolution” (Upside Magazine); “America’s 200 Most Influential Women” (Vanity Fair); and “America’s 100 Most Important Women” (Ladies Home Journal). In 1986, she 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 The Outstanding Young Persons of the World Award.

In 2005, Professor Strossen was honored by the University of Tulsa College of Law and the Tulsa Law Review, which made her scholarly work the subject of their Fifth Annual Legal Scholarship Symposium, entitled “Nadine Strossen: Scholar as Activist.”

More than 300 published works of Professor Strossen’s have appeared in scholarly journals and general interest outlets. Her book, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights (Scribner, 1995), was named by the New York Times as a “Notable Book” of 1995, and has also been translated into several other languages and published in several other countries. Her coauthored book, Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex: Hate Speech, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties (NYU Press, 1995), was named an “outstanding book” by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.

Professor Strossen graduated from Harvard College (1972) and from Harvard Law School (1975), where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

NYLS alumnus John Marshall Harlan II has been hailed as one of the most influential Supreme Court justices in the twentieth century. While he has been called “the great dissenter of the Warren Court,” he was also considered one of that Court’s intellectual leaders. He was respected by both conservatives and liberals because of his thoughtful, scholarly opinions and his tolerance and civility toward all.

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