Former President of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008)
Challenges to Civil Liberties
An interactive and informal conversation with the former ACLU president concerning current and future threats and challenges to civil liberties.
Co-sponsored by Department of Sociology, Department of Political Science, Office of Dean of Students, Women’s Center and Career Center.
In reaction to the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration enacted a series of strong counter-terrorism measures. These policies included aggressive detention procedures, extraordinary rendition of prisoners to various countries, harsh interrogation tactics, and a sweeping domestic and international surveillance policy. While these anti-terrorist policies were all pursued in the name of protecting the country, some contended that they represented a serious threat to civil liberties. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the nation’s oldest and largest civil liberties organization, vigorously opposed these policies from their inception, fighting them in courtrooms and legislative bodies, with varying levels of success.
Both supporters and opponents of former President Bush are closely watching the Obama Administration to see what policies he will pursue in the ongoing war on terrorism. President Obama has already made significant changes, such as his executive order closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay within a year and his order prohibiting the C.I.A. from using coercive interrogation methods. Will Obama’s policies in the war on terrorism be consistent with civil liberties? Can the new administration adequately protect the country from future terrorist attacks without infringing upon traditional civil liberties?
About the Speaker
Nadine Strossen served as president of the ACLU from January 1991 to October 2008. The first woman to hold this prominent position, Strossen has written, lectured and practiced extensively in constitutional law, civil liberties and international human rights. Her writing includes over 300 articles in scholarly journals and general interest publications. The New York Times listed her book, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights, as a “Notable Book” of 1995. The Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America named her co-authored book, Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex: Hate Speech, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties an “outstanding book.”
Currently a professor of law at New York Law School, Strossen makes approximately 200 public presentations per year before diverse audiences, and she also comments frequently on legal issues for the national media. Strossen also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan organization that strives to promote a better understanding of the role the United States should play in the world.
Strossen was twice named one of America’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers” by the National Law Journal. Other recognitions include Working Woman Magazine’s “350 Women Who Changed the World 1976-1996,” and Vanity Fair Magazine’s “America’s 200 Most Influential Women” in 1998. In addition to these tributes, Strossen also was awarded the Media Institute’s “Freedom of Speech Award” and the National Council of Jewish Women’s “Women Who Dared Award.”
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College in 1972 and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1975, where she was editor of the Harvard Law Review.