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Nadine Strossen (born August 18, 1950) was president of the American Civil Liberties Union 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 National Law Journal and Vanity Fair.
Strossen was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on August 18, 1950. 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." Strossen graduated from Harvard College in 1972, Phi Beta Kappa, and then graduated from Harvard Law School in 1975, magna cum laude. In law school, she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
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.
Strossen is an active member of 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.
- Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight for Women's Rights (ISBN 0-8147-8149-7)
- Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex: Hate Speech, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties (ISBN 0-8147-3090-6)
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- A film clip "The Open Mind – American's Civil Liberties, Part I (1995)" is available at the Internet Archive
- A film clip "The Open Mind – American's Civil Liberties, Part II (1995)" is available at the Internet Archive
- Nadine Strossen Papers at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University
- Appearances on C-SPAN