Nadine Strossen

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Nadine Strossen
Nadine Strossen by David Shankbone.jpg
Born (1950-08-15) August 15, 1950 (age 68)
Alma materHarvard College,
Harvard Law School
MovementAmerican Civil Liberties Union
Spouse(s)Eli Noam

Nadine M. Strossen (born August 18, 1950) is an American civil liberties activist who was president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from February 1991 to October 2008. She was the first woman and the youngest person to ever lead the ACLU. A professor at New York Law School, Strossen sits on the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been called one of the most influential business leaders, women, or lawyers in The National Law Journal and Vanity Fair.

Early life[edit]

Strossen was born in Jersey City, New Jersey.[1] She has stated that the experiences of her family were her inspiration to pursue a career in civil liberties. "My father was a Holocaust survivor and my mother's father was a protester during World War I when he came to this country as an immigrant, and he was literally spat upon for not going to fight in the war", said Strossen in an interview. "His official sentence for being a conscientious objector was to be forced to stand against the courthouse in Hudson County, New Jersey so that passers-by could spit on him."[2] Strossen received her B.A. degree from Harvard College in 1972 Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1975, magna cum laude. In law school, she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review.


Strossen practiced law in Minneapolis and New York City for nine years before becoming a Professor of Law at New York Law School in 1988.

In February 1991, Strossen became the president of the American Civil Liberties Union, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Norman Dorsen. As president, Strossen made over 200 public presentations each year and gave frequent public commentary on civil liberties issues in the national media. She appeared on nearly every major U.S. news program and has received numerous awards and honors. In May 2008, she announced her resignation. On October 18, 2008, the ACLU selected Susan Herman, a constitutional law professor at Brooklyn Law School in New York, to replace her.[3]

Strossen is an active member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), an organization promoting the decriminalization of marijuana. She is also a member of the National Youth Rights Association Advisory Board and a founding member of Feminists for Free Expression.[4]

She appeared in the 2000 docudrama Dirty Pictures.[5] In October 2001, Strossen made her theater debut as the guest star in Eve Ensler's award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Strossen is married to Eli Noam, a professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business.

Select publications[edit]

  • 1995: Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight for Women's Rights (ISBN 0-8147-8149-7)
  • 1996: Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex: Hate Speech, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties (ISBN 0-8147-3090-6)
  • 2018: Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship (ISBN 0-1908-5912-1)


  1. ^ West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2, The Gale Group, Inc., 2008: "Strossen, Nadine M."
  2. ^ Interview with Nadine Strossen, David Shankbone, Wikinews, October 30, 2007.
  3. ^ "Across the nation | Detroit Free Press". Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  4. ^ Feminists For Free Expression Archived 2007-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "'Pictures': Worth A Thousand Words" by Tom Shales, The Washington Post, May 27, 2000
  6. ^ "Vagina Monologues at the National: The Privates Go Public" by Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post, October 19, 2001

External links[edit]