Nadine Strossen

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Nadine Strossen
Nadine Strossen by David Shankbone.jpg
Strossen in 2007
Born (1950-08-18) August 18, 1950 (age 72)
EducationHarvard University (BA, JD)
OrganizationAmerican Civil Liberties Union
SpouseEli Noam

Nadine 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. A liberal feminist, she was the first woman to ever lead the ACLU.[1] A professor at New York Law School, Strossen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations[2] and other professional organizations.

Early life[edit]

Strossen was born in Jersey City, New Jersey.[3] Her maternal grandfather was an immigrant from Yugoslavia who held Marxist views. Her father was born in Germany and defined as a half-Jew by Hitler's racial laws because his mother was Jewish, although he was raised Lutheran.[4][5][6][7] 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."[8] 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.[9] In law school, she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review.[1]


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 serving until 2019.[10]

Strossen helped to create, and co-taught, the first stand-alone course dedicated to exploring the human rights responsibilities of global business at Columbia Business School in the early 1990s.[11]

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. 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.[12]

She is also a founding member of Feminists for Free Expression.[13]

She appeared in the 2000 docudrama Dirty Pictures.[14] In October 2001, Strossen made her theater debut as the guest star in Eve Ensler's play, The Vagina Monologues at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.[15]

Having been appointed as the chaired John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law in 2015, she has been educating students in Constitutional Law and Human Rights.[10]

In 2019, her book, "Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship", was chosen as the Washington University in St. Louis Common Reading book.[16] On August 26th, Strossen delivered a keynote address at the university.[17]

Other activities[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Strossen is married to Eli Noam, a professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business.[22]

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. ^ a b "Former ACLU President Nadine Strossen to Present 14th Annual Alfange Lecture at UMass Amherst | College of Social & Behavioral Sciences". Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  2. ^ "Council on Foreign Relations". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2022-08-04.
  3. ^ West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2, The Gale Group, Inc., 2008: "Strossen, Nadine M."
  5. ^ ""More speech is the best counter to hate speech"". University of Delaware. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  6. ^ "Liberty's Defending Angel". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  7. ^ "Why Do People Establish Scholarship Funds". New York Law School. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  8. ^ Interview with Nadine Strossen, Wikinews, October 30, 2007.
  9. ^ "ACLU President Nadine Strossen". Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  10. ^ a b "Nadine Strossen" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  11. ^ "Introduction: Teaching Business and Human Rights". Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum. 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  12. ^ "Across the nation | Detroit Free Press". Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  13. ^ Feminists For Free Expression Archived 2007-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "'Pictures': Worth A Thousand Words" by Tom Shales, The Washington Post, May 27, 2000
  15. ^ "Vagina Monologues at the National: The Privates Go Public" by Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post, October 19, 2001
  16. ^ "HATE: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship". Diversity & Inclusion. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  17. ^ "Hate: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship | Assembly Series | Washington University in St. Louis". Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  18. ^ "Current Free Speech Controversies: A Discussion with Nadine Strossen | James Madison Program". Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  19. ^ "College educators form alliance to defend free expression". AP NEWS. 2021-04-21. Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  20. ^ "Higher-Education Critics Launch University of Austin". Bloomberg. 2021-11-08. Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  21. ^ Menchaca, Megan. "Coming soon: The University of Austin, focused on 'the intrepid pursuit of truth'". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  22. ^ "Eli M. Noam". Quello Center | Michigan State University. Retrieved 2022-08-06.

External links[edit]