Marquette Law School hosts former president of ACLU

Nadine+Strossen+was+the+former+president+of+the+ACLU.+

Photo by Zach Bukowski

Nadine Strossen was the former president of the ACLU.

The Marquette University Law School held an event focusing on free speech and hate speech Monday. It was sponsored by the Marquette Law Federalist Society and the Association of Women Lawyers. The AWL is a Southeast Wisconsin-based organization that includes members of varying ages and types of organizations. One of its main purposes is to host speakers to present on current legal issues.

The event’s speaker was Nadine Strossen, the first female president of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was president from 1991 to 2008. According to the ACLU website, the organization is a nonprofit founded in 1920 with the goal of “defending and preserving the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Some of the main issues on which the ACLU focuses include immigration, LGBTQ+ rights and voting rights. 

According to the Federalist Society website, Strossen is currently a professor of law at New York Law School. Over her tenure, she has publicly spoken at over 500 college campuses and in multiple foreign countries. She has over 300 published works and is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonprofit organization that specializes in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. 

Strossen graduated from Harvard College in 1972 and Harvard Law School in 1975. 

The AWL put on the event to continue the global conversation about free speech and hate speech, according to the sign-up for the event.

The sign-up also highlighted key questions discussed during the event, such as “Is hate speech protected? If so, where?”, “Is there a distinction between free speech and hate speech?’ and “What should be done to combat hate speech?” 

Charlie Hoffmann, a first-year law student spoke to some ways he believes that speech can be neutralized.  

“I would say more speech is better,” Hoffman said. “By having more speech, more attention would be brought to this event. The best way is the opposing side. This way, it leads to a better argument, as you can fully see both sides of the story,” Hoffman said.

Michael Kiener, a first-year law student, said he heard about the event through an email. 

“I think it is important to stay up to date on people’s opinions,” Kiener said. Topics such as this one are freedoms that can be easily encroached upon, so it’s important to keep the discussing ongoing,” Kiener said.

Jeff Jenson, a second-year law student, spoke of similar past events that took place in the past. 

“The last one took place back in the fall semester,” Jenson said. “It was on getting arrested and how in that situation you have the rights to remain silent using your Miranda Rights.” Miranda Rights include five rights under the Fifth Amendment including the right to remain silent and the right to consult an attorney before speaking to law enforcement.

Jenson said there are a couple ways to spread the word and implement freedom of speech, specifically at Marquette.

“One thing that comes to mind is to not shut down professors when they are trying to get their point across,” Jenson said. “Another way is listening to opinions that may go against Catholic traditions and values.”

This story was written by Nick Magrone. He can be reached at nicholas.magrone@marquette.edu.