Foulston Siefkin Lecture, 2021: Nadine Strossen

Washburn University School of Law
and the Washburn Law Journal
proudly present the
43rd Foulston Siefkin Lecture

Nadine Strossen
John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law, Emerita
New York Law School

"Why Should Hatemongers and Extremists Have Free Speech Rights?"

Thursday – March 18, 2021
12:30 p.m. – via Zoom

Watch on YouTube.

Photograph: Nadine Strossen.Nadine Strossen is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor Emerita at New York Law School and past President of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008). She is a leading expert and frequent speaker/media commentator on constitutional law and civil liberties. Professor Strossen has testified before Congress on multiple occasions. She serves on the advisory boards of the ACLU, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Heterodox Academy, and National Coalition Against Censorship.

The National Law Journal has named Strossen one of America's "100 Most Influential Lawyers," and several other publications have named her one of the country's most influential women. Professor Strossen's many honorary degrees and awards include the American Bar Association's prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award (watch video (15:12)). Her 2018 book, HATE: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship, has been widely praised by ideologically diverse experts. Her earlier book, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights, was named a New York Times "notable book" of 1995.

Professor Strossen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. Before becoming a law professor, she practiced law in Minneapolis (her hometown) and New York City.


We regularly hear charges that certain speech, including on campuses and social media, constitutes "hate speech" that should be censored. Professor Strossen shares the important goals of censorship proponents: equality, dignity, diversity, inclusivity, and societal harmony. However, having studied the actual impact of censorship around the world and throughout history, she concludes that censorship is ineffective for promoting these goals, and even counterproductive. Along with other human rights activists, Professor Strossen concludes that anti-hate-speech laws disproportionately suppress the voices and causes of the traditionally marginalized groups that hate speech laws seek to benefit. She urges that more constructive steps for countering discrimination and violence focus on discriminatory attitudes and actions, through "counterspeech" and vigorous enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, including laws against "hate crimes."

Graphic: Book cover for Hate. Graphic: Book cover for Hate.

Logo: Foulston Liefkin LLP.
has sponsored this lecture series since 1978 to enrich the
quality of education at Washburn University School of Law.
Articles derived from the lectures are published by
the Washburn Law Journal.