tv Former ACLU President Nadine Strossen on Campus Free Speech CSPAN November 25, 2018 4:47pm-5:44pm EST
[applause] >> also at that conference on college of speech, former american civil liberty unions president nadine strossen and was the keynote speaker. this is just under one hour. [applause] thank you very much distracting associate attorney general and good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. my name is peter and i am a trial attorney and the civil , educationalon opportunities division here in the department of justice. in this capacity, i have contributed to several stages of interest to free speech rights at public colleges and universities that the department has filed in the last year.
i am also a proud graduate of new york law school where i had studying privilege of the first amendment and other facets of constitutional law under the too large of today's keynote speaker, the john marshall harlan the second professor of law at new york law school, nadine strossen. for nearly three decades, progress or strossen has been a preeminent advocate and scholar of the civil rights and liberties guaranteed by the constitution including the free speech rights enshrined by the first amendment. in 1991, professor strossen and became the first woman and youngest person to be named president of the american civil liberties union. since then, she has made thousands of public presentations on issues of constitutional law at hundreds of college and university campuses across america and the globe. and she is also made innumerable television and radio appearances. professor strassman's accolades are many including to name just the 100ing named one of
most influential lawyers in america by the national law journal, being included among the americas 200 most influential women by vanity fair, and being listed among the 350 women who changed the world by working women magazine. she has also been awarded the media institute freedom of speech award, the free speech is not free ofom award and the american bar association's margaret brent women lawyers of achievement award which celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who excel in their field and who have paved the way to success rather women lawyers. in when she stepped down 2008, no less than supreme court justices antonin scalia a, david souter, and ruth bader ginsburg joined in the luncheon here in washington, d.c. to celebrate her historic 17 your tenure. attend new york law
school in no small part because of the prospect of learning from this world-renowned free-speech advocates who i first came to admire in college when reading her 1995 book, "defending pornography, free-speech, sex, and the fight for women's rights . i quickly learned that despite her fame and accolades, she provided -- she prides herself first and foremost on being a teacher. to her passionate, cogent, and interactive lectures, she teaches her students to approach questions of constitutional law with a nuanced and nonpartisan mindfulness of legal precedents. outside of the classroom she is a tireless advocate and mentor to current and former students alike. i have no doubt that without the education and support that professor strassman has provided me i would not have the great honor of serving in the department of justice today. strassman continues to
teach an advocate for civil rights most recently through her that's why you should resist it with free speech and not censorship." a timely defense every speech. as former governor of indiana and current president of the op-ed,ity -- in a recent strassman's book the mollis is the case for government censorship of hate speech. personhink of no finer to close today's constitutional day forum on speech and higher education. please join me in welcoming my friend, mentor, and professor nadine strassman. [applause] professor strassman: thank you to the audience for that warm welcome and thank you to peter
for that gracious introduction. peter provides a wonderful bridge between the aclu and the doj because he has done superb work for both institutions. at the aclu after graduating from new york law school. and that joint connection has been the case for many other terrific lawyers who has been on the aclu staff and then moved to the doj or sometimes vice versa. and that illustrates an important motif that will run through my remarks today as it runs through all of my writing and speaking. despite is this -- that very strong disagreement among opinionated and engaged to people in this country, we are all united by
our core national ideals. which we certainly have never achieved in reality but which we are all striving to achieve namely liberty and justice for all. on this constitution day let me quote the late, great justice william brennan when a hernalist asked him what hoped to achieve on the supreme court. brennan gave an answer that all of us can i go. "i am confident that we all share this goal despite some deep disagreements about how to reach the goal. namely, to make the words of the constitution leap off the pages and into people's lives. go i am honored to address this
important for him. i have been thrilled at the justice department's prioritizing of campus free-speech cases during the past year. especially given attorney general sessions pledges that the department would neutrally defend such a speech regardless of the views it conveyed. point today.his he stressed this point in his very first public speech announcing the doj's campus free-speech initiative almost exactly one year ago. he observed that recent crackdowns on speech crossed races, issues, and religions and he repeatedly has in vote the civil rights movement and martin luther king jr. both last year and again today to demonstrate that censorship inevitably disproportionately silences members of minority groups and of their rights.
this morning, the attorney general quoted not only martin luther king but also abraham lincoln and susan b anthony. and consistent with that observation, last september, attorney general sessions made the following pledge. which i found very inspiring. "we will protect students' free expression from whatever and of the political spectrum they may come." that commitment comports with the famous statement attributed voltaire,ar -- to which is i may disagree with what you say but i will defend to the death your right to say it. even for space that is antithetical to our own civil liberties ideals including in a current case right here in the district of columbia. we have sued d.c.'s metro
transit system for censoring my amongong others -- milo others. i have heard complaints that attorney general sessions and other justice department officials have not in fact done the counterpart, they have not publicly opposed campus suppression of expression by pro-civil rights activists or other nonconservative perspectives so i was very heartened this morning first by whichs opening remarks in she strongly criticized a couple of campuses for suppressing liberal speech including liberal speech that is particularly geared to my heart at the mary.e of william and whenise, i was heartened
john gore spoke and he gave yet another example of strong criticism of campus where liberal, in fact socialists message was suppressed. at joliet junior college. i hope that kind of nonpartisan and ideological neutral criticism of suppression of speech with any message including a liberal one including a pro-civil liberties and pro-civil rights one will continue. unfortunately, there are ample instances of such suppression. i would like to cite just one recent example. rutgers history professor jim livingston. postatirical social media which critiqued gentrification and critiqued white privilege were punished essentially as .acist hate speech
fortunately, free speech and academic freedom groups have rallied to his defense including the foundation for individual rights in education from home we have heard today. the american association of university professors because this as a matter of academic freedom as well as free speech. in responseredit, to these critiques, rutgers president commendably reopened the case recently. so i think this demonstrates, i think in fact the work demonstrates consistently that if the people including the very powerful and influential people in the department of justice simply raise your voices, use your bully pulpits, we don't even have to go to court to often bring about positive changes in protecting all human rights on campus including freedom of speech.
now, consistent with the aclu's staunch nonpartisanship, i also want to draw a comparison and contrast with the obama administration on this issue. on the one hand, president barack obama himself repeatedly and strongly spoke out in favor of campus free-speech including four racist speech, including four
>> three distorted concept of sexual harassment that is even constitutionally protected expression about sex or gender sexual rights or women's rights activists complained about the justice department under the obama administration. , the administration recently also took some other action that also undermines campus free speech.
mainly it is endorsed and overly broad definition of anti-semitism which would stifle debate on crucial issues about israeli and middle east policies. i am convinced that free speech is ultimately the strongest weapon and the only potential weapon against any form of hatred, including anti-semitism. two weeks ago, i had the honor of sharing the stage with noam chomsky at the university of arizona. it was a terrific program about campus free-speech. i would like to quote chomsky's trenchant comment about another overbroad definition of anti-semitism, which is also
well intended but also dangerous. namely, one that includes holocaust denial. chomsky critiques such overbroad concepts of anti-semitism, which suppress ideas as follows. it is a core service to the memory of the victims of the holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers. as an activist i am a congenital optimist but let me focus on the glass half-full perspective. the current ocr has commendably retracted the overbroad concept of sexually harassing expressions that the obama ocr and doj enforced. in turn, the obama
administration commendably rejected the overbroad concept of anti-semitic expression that the current ocr is now enforcing. for the doj to continue to actively support freedom for all ideas on campus, it would have another very important benefit beyond enhancing free-speech. namely, it should increase respect for the doj's unique and indispensable role as upholding the rule of law. another pillar of our constitutional order that also has been under siege lately. i'm sure that you all realize that there are many important issues on which the aclu
strongly disagrees with many current doj positions. including in many major losses we have filed against the u.s. government. as our own corporate charter mandates, the aclu has always been staunchly nonpartisan and ideologically neutral. we do our best to neutrally defend all fundamental freedoms for all people, regardless of who you are, regardless of what you believe. likewise, we in the aclu never support or oppose any candidate, official, political party or group as such. rather, we assess everyone on an issue by issue basis, praising their pro-civil liberties positions on particular issues and criticizing their anti-civil liberties positions on other issues.
and i have already illustrated this approach in the comments i have made on the current administration and its predecessor. likewise, we in the aclu are always eager to collaborate with officials or groups on specific issues of common concern when such collaboration would advance our civil liberties goals. even if we strongly disagree with the very same officials or groups on other important issues. in my extensive experience as an aclu leader, i can't think of a single individual or group with whom we have not strongly agreed on at least one issue that is deeply important to both of us. nor can i think of a single individual or group whom we have not strongly disagree on at least important issue. this approach, which i am laying out because it is the model of how we bring about vigorous but civil discourse on campuses.
this approach, which i am laying out because it is the model of how we bring about vigorous but civil discourse on campuses. this approach benefits for the aclu, our civil liberty causes. it broadens our network of potential allies. i would make the same argument to social justice activists on campus. please collaborate with groups that you agree with that can help further your agenda on particular issues. you don't have to use a litmus if they disagree with you on anything, you are going to not acknowledge your humanity, let alone their potential as collaborators and allies. you will advance your causes, your cherished causes by having that issue by issue approach. even beyond the causes, just from an individual, human, personal level, this approach is so beneficial.
anget to partner with infinitely diverse array of individuals and groups, fostering awareness of our common concerns, mutual respect for our common humanity. unfortunately, this kind of experience is rare in our increasingly divided and try ballistic climate, both in the climate both in , the political sphere and on college campuses. as a moving memorial service for senator john mccain last month, both former presidents paid him such inspiring tributes. both george w. bush and barack obama noted that john mccain would often disagree with someone on some fundamental matters, yet work together with that person on other fundamental matters. as obama explained, this was because mccain always viewed those he disagreed with not as enemies but as occasional opponents who ultimately were on the same side.
as mccain himself put it in his farewell letter to all of us, "we are 325 million opinionated , vociferous individuals. we argue and compete, and sometimes even vilified each publicn our raucous debates, but we always have had so much more in common with each .ther than in disagreement if only we remember that, and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. we will come through them stronger than we always do."
this collaborative spirit, stressing what unites us rather than divides us, this embodies my hope for improved campus free-speech culture. namely, i hope that everyone will realize the message that we heard over and over today, including from the attorney general first thing in the morning. that free-speech benefits all people and all ideas. and that the reverse is true for censorship. it endangers all people and all ideas. --cifically, i help that we hope we will emulate the supreme court in the sense. justices have been deeply divided on some free-speech issues, but they have been completely united on the key free-speech issues that have roiled campuses, about speech that is offensive,
insensitive hateful, and hated. , conveying discriminatory views on the basis of race, religion, gender, and so forth what is , usually called hate speech. the courts broad ideological spectrum, the justices have consistently rejected censorship of hate .peech most recently, they did so unanimously just last year in the case. that case is especially noteworthy because it illustrates a point i will stress throughout my remarks that protecting freedom for hate speech promotes not only individual liberty, but also equality and dignity. specifically, the alleged hate speech that the government sought to suppress in that case, it was a traditional ethnic slur against people of asian origin.
namely, the slants. is an asianam american musician, whose band consists of other asian-american rock musicians. when simon and his bandmates chose that name, they hardly were seeking to disparage asian-americans. to the contrary, they had exactly the opposite aim. they wanted to diffuse the term's discriminatory implications and infuse it with their pride in their ethnic heritage. for them, that name choice was their declaration of dignity, equality, and empowerment. therefore when the supreme court , unanimously struck down a federal statute that denied them trademark protection for their chosen name, the court in one
fell swoop for third both liberty and equality. simon tan has been an eloquent evangelist for both free-speech and equality, not only through his music but also through his public speaking. among other things, he has given several terrific ted talks to highly recommend. i would like to cite one especially relevant example of my own personal experience with the issue by issue approach that i described earlier as followed. -- followed by both the aclu and john mccain, which i highly to all students and social justice crusader's, whereby the same person is sometimes an ally and sometimes an adversary. the official i'm going to cite is none other than attorney general sessions himself.
there is something quite persuasive when you have the strange bedfellows. i was amused at the idea that senator alexander threw out that we he and i could go educate campus trustees about free speech. there is something quite persuasive. when jeff sessions was a senator, he vigorously challenged certain views that i voiced as a witness in some senate committee hearings. senator sessions and i even had an extensive one-on-one debate on a pbs tv show back in 2000 called "one-on-one with john mclachlan." our debate topic was capital punishment. i will let you guess who was
pro-and who was con. [laughter] of course, as i already flagged, any current aclu leaders continue to criticize and litigate against attorney general sessions' positions and the doj's positions on many important issues. but on the essential issue of for the pastpeech year, attorney general sessions have been important, influential allies in some cases , and i look forward to their continuing and expanding that role in more cases involving diverse voices and views. i especially appreciated the explicit invitation from both gore for those who us are aware of violations of spree speech, to bring them to the attention of the justice department. i should note that i encourage the doj to do even more work on
campus free speech, not only because i hope it will siphon off doj resources from other cases and issues where the aclu is on the other side. [laughter] when doj senior counsel graciously invited me to give this keynote address, i asked her what special perspective she thought i could provide and before i tell you how she answered, i want to thank and salute tara for being such a principled, effective free speech advocate. to assume her key doj duties she took a leave from her faculty position at syracuse university college of law. i had the great privilege of speaking there a couple of weeks ago, and i can attest that tara is sorely missed by her faculty
, colleagues, and students. but the loss to that particular campus is the gain to all campuses nationwide since tara is using her talents to ensure that all campuses are safe spaces for all ideas, as well as for all people. as i said, i asked tara how she felt i could best use my precious time here. she encouraged me to stress two predominant interrelated themes in my new book, which i have already touched on, and which also have been major themes throughout my scholarship and advocacy. first that free speech and equality are mutually reinforcing. we need not choose between civil liberties and civil rights. that was illustrated by the supreme court's unanimous decision last year, as i already explained.
the second related theme is that the most effective way to counter hateful attitudes, expression, and action, is measuresonsense oriole -- non-sensorial measures. example, far more fruitful than punishing discriminatory words would be enacting and effectively enforcing laws against discriminatory conduct. where we have much unfinished business. i'm going to cite just a couple illustrations. at the federal level, we still do not have any law, barring even the most blatant discrimination, based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and such important spheres such as employment and housing.
where we do have federal law protecting voting rights, that law has not prevented rampant voter suppression measures all over the country, which disproportionately disenfranchises people of color, people with disabilities, the elderly, and students. all of us here today share a to freedom oft expression, and surely, no form of expression is more consequential than casting a ballot. both of my two major themes stress the real world, pragmatic advantages of a noncensorial approach to hate speech. if we focus on the policy goals that campus social justice advocates promote goals that i , and the aclu strongly support, theseractical matter, will be furthered by robust
bye-speech and frustrated censorship. i very much a plot the comments that were made at the end of the by vincent phillip munoz at notre dame, when he said we have to look at the positive aspects of activism to human rights and equality and dignity and we have to persuade them that the truth that those causes are furthered by free-speech and hampered by censorship, so that is a very practical policy type argument. to be sure, the u.s. first amendment case law reflects persuasive principled reasons for rejecting censorship. the research i did for my book increased my already high regard for these first amendment principles. they draw sensible distinctions between protect it and
punishable hateful speech in ways that promote not only individual liberties and but also democracy, individual well-being, and societal harmony. i will put on my constitutional law professor hat on constitution day, that seems appropriate. in a nutshell, the first amendment bars government from suppressing speech solely because its content or viewpoint is hateful or hated. the answer to speech whose ideas we hate is not suppression but counter speech, and that is a term that we used broadly to encompass a literally infinite ways that we can exercise our free-speech rights to counter the potential adverse impacts of hateful speech, and these include dispelling this information, refuting
discriminatory ideas, proactively educating and accurate information and inclusive ideas expressing , support for disparaged individuals and groups nondisruptively protesting and apologizing for an unwittingly offensive, insensitive remark. in many situations, we can most effectively counter any potential adverse impact of hateful ideas by exercising our right to remain silent. in other words, ignoring the hate mongers, thus depriving them of the attention they crave and not turning them into free-speech martyrs. although first amendment doesn't let government suppress speech just because the content is hateful or hated, in contrast the first amendment does let , government suppress speech with such content or for that matter, any content, in a
particular context where it directly causes certain specific imminent serious harm. the general counsel of texas christian university this morning outlined this important principle that government may outlaw speech in certain context s when it causes certain harm , such as when it constitutes a true threat or intentional incitement of imminent violence or targeted harassment. moreover, government may impose heightened penalties on criminal conduct such as assaults or vandalism when the perpetrator targets a victim for discriminatory reasons. and the evidence that victims were selected for discriminatory reasons often consists of hateful expression uttered in the course of the crime.
these basics of u.s. free-speech law are so sensible that i think just by learning them most , people, including most social campus,crusaders on would have a heightened appreciation and respect for these free speech principles, as strongly protecting individual liberty appropriately, but also duly respecting counter vailing concerns. so i agree with prior speakers such as heather mcdonald and lee tyner, and lamar alexander as well, who stressed how important additional education about free speech principles would be in bringing about a culture that supports free speech and not just a law that does so. beyond the sound principles that first amendment law reflects, as i said, that law is also sounds from a purely pragmatic or policy perspective.
moreover, noncensorial strategies, including counter speech, turn out to be more effective than censorship in advancing all the goals that are just claimed or assumed to be furthered by censorship but have never been shown to actually be advanced in reality. again, equality, dignity, diversity, inclusivity, psychological well-being, and societal harmony. these are all benefits that proponents of censoring hate speech simply claim will come from such censorship. however, the actual record is to the contrary, and that is a major reason why crusaders for racial justice, for all kinds of equal justice causes throughout
u.s. history have always been strong warriors for freedom of speech, including frederick douglass, one of whose elegant quotes was mentioned by heather mcdonald. i am so glad to see his very important portrait in a hall in this building where some of us had lunch today, right across from the president of the united states and the united states attorney general. douglass, butrick martin luther king and many others. also been true for many advocates in many other countries oppose censorship, supporting free speech, even for speech that's deemed to be hateful and hated, precisely from the perspective of advancing human rights. having observed the actual
operation of hate speech laws in their own countries, these -- and these include experts from the united nations and other international and regional human rights agencies, many of them have endorsed the ..s. approach for example, in 2015, the european commission against racism and intolerance concluded that counter speech and other measuresn-censorial are much more likely than censorship to prove defective and ultimately eradicating hateful speech and conduct. much more likely. president obama repeatedly told campus activists that they should support free speech specifically because it is essential to promote their social justice causes. in his words, being an activist involves hearing the other side
and engaging in dialogue because that's how change happens. he explained that the civil rights movement succeeded because the leadership consistently sought to understand the views of their opponents, even views that were appalling to them. he urged students to have an argument with those whose views they reject, telling them that you shouldn't silence anyone by saying i'm too sensitive to hear , what you have to say. now obama acknowledged that it could be especially burdensome to disparage people to answer back, but he encouraged this as an essential and empowering step towards the social justice reforms that they championed. my book quotes many other minority group leaders, activists, and educators to the same effect. let me now share just two of my favorite such quotes. one comes from van jones, the progressive african-american activist and commentator
addressing campus social justice warriors. he said "i don't want you to be safe ideologically. i don't want you to be safe emotionally. i want you to be strong. i want to you be deeply aggrieved and offend and upset and then learn how to speak back. because that is what we need from you." second, i would like to share the bracing words of ruth simmons, who is brown university's president from 2001 to 2012. the first african-american president of any ivy league university and brown's first female president. she's now the president of a historically black university in texas. in her very first convocation address at brown, she said you , "you know something that i hate? when people say, that doesn't
make me feel good about myself. i say, that's not what you are here for. i believe that learning at its best is the antithesis of comfort. campus for to this comfort, i would urge you to walk through yon iron gates. but if you seek betterment for yourself, your community, and posterity, stay and fight." counter speech has a great track only -- not only in preventing people from adopting hateful attitudes in the first play, but also in persuading even convinced hate mongers to recant those views. as nelson mandela put it, "no one's born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. people must learn to hate. if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love."
there is an impressive cadre of former hate mongers who have experienced this kind of redemption, including even former leaders of violent hate groups. these redeemed souls even have coined a term for themselves, formers, as in former members of hate groups. robert shively mentioned one of them this morning and there's a whole series of presentations, ted talks that you can see from the perspective of both formers and those who have redeemed them. while hate speech and hate crimes are still too common in the united states, they are now being swiftly and strongly condemned not only by those directly affected, but by government and campus official, community leaders, and powerful social media campaigns like black lives matter and me too. this is hardly to say mission
accomplished when it comes to endemic societal and individual bias, but it is proof positive that human rights activists have been flourishing despite, or maybe even because of, well-publicized incidents of hateful discriminatory speech and conduct. just think of charlottesville and the aftermath last year. think of the overwhelming outpouring of opposition to the hatemongers and the overwhelming minority groups they disparaged, including from top officials in both major parties, business leaders, and military leaders. or think of this year's anniversary gathering just last month, in which tiny bands of white supremacists were vastly outnumbered by counterdemonstrators. to, myready alluded beloved father barely survived the buchenwald forced labor camp
in nazi germany, and i have many of relatives who were assassinated, so i will never forget the horror of hearing the torchbearers and demonstrators in charlottesville last year chanting " you will not replace us, jews will not replace us." but the net result of that horrific incident was to underscore that such views will . never replace americans' core commitment to liberty and justice for all. for all of the partisan and tribal divisions we face, we do remain overwhelmingly united in our overwhelming repudiation of those views. among other things, even ceos of major corporations who served on
advisory councils to president trump, even they were so critical of the president's failure to forcefully condemn the nazis in a charlottesville resigned, and both councils had to be disbanded. of the ceos said, constructive, economic, and regulatory policies will not matter if we do not address the divisions in our country. role inleader's business or government to bring people together, not tear them apart. in a speech at the university of illinois just 10 days ago, former president barack obama stressed the same point. it shouldn't be democratic or republican who say we don't target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray. we are americans. we are supposed to stand up to
not follow them. we are supposed to stand up to discrimination and we sure as heck are supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to nazi sympathizers. how hard can that be to say nazis are bad? for all the media coverage of surveys indicating students negative attitudes about the state of racial justice and role of free speech, there hasn't been much media coverage of surveys indicating students' positive attitudes about these issues. by the way, in this era of attacks on the media as the enemy of the people, which demonstrably endanger not only freedom of speech and democracy itself, but those attacks also endanger the very lives of journalists around the world.
in this new media bashing era, i hasten to add my criticism of particular media coverage does not detract one wit from my conviction that the media are the opposite of the enemy of the people. to quote our constitution's opening words, "the media constitute an essential ally of we the people." the opening words are "we the people," i added that the media constitute our essential ally, crucial pillars of our democratic republic and also of both liberty and equality. to be sure, just as the media has a crucial responsibility to scrutinize and criticize all public officials as to we the people, we also have a right and a responsibility to scrutinize and criticize how media choose to exercise other -- their great
power and their freedom. i am now exercising my free speech rights to critically comment on what particular ways in which the media i think too often have chosen to exercise their free speech rights in discussing campus free speech. in my view, too many media accounts have unduly exaggerated current students allegedly negative attitudes on the race andssues of both free speech on their campuses. and here, i echo heather mcdonald's point, where she talked about the responsibility to refute this victimhood ideology. site encouraging evidence that students' attitudes are actually much more positive, and that means that fortunately, the situation of
race relations on their campuses are also much more positive than we get the impression. gallupmple, in a 2016 survey, nearly three fourths of students describe the racial climate on their campus as excellent or good. and especially noteworthy, these positive attitudes were shared by large majorities of students. again, the racial climate on campuses, excellent or good. that was agreed to by 75% of latino students, 70% of asian students, and 62% of black students. encouraging results were also reported by buzzfeed news last september in what it called the first comprehensive survey of hate speech at higher education institutions since the 2016 election.
to be sure, that survey confirmed 154 hate speech incidents at 120 campuses around the country. i do have to note that even one such incident would be one too many, but we do have similar between around at least 5,000 campuses, so it could be a lot worse. in any event, buzz feed concluded that colleges typically responded to these bias incidents quickly and to the satisfaction of their students. in nearly every case, university presidents sent off mass emails condemning the hate speech. most encouragingly, minority students are increasingly raising their voices and being taken seriously. that development has been hailed by shawn harper, who is director of the university of southern california's race and equities center.
he describes it as an unmuting of black collegians. in contrast, hate speech laws in other comparable countries too often mute members of minority groups and their advocates. that's a major reason why so many human rights advocates in other countries are urging abandoning censorship of hate speech and moving in the direction of the united states. for example, the u.n. committee on elimination of racial discrimination recently complained that hate speech laws have been used to the detriment of minority groups and threaten curtail expressions of protest at injustice, social discontent or opposition. in short, hate speech laws are the worst of both worlds. they do stifle opponents of
discrimination, but they do not stifle discrimination. on that latter point, i would like to quote a prench human right lawyer, director of the global freedom of expression program at columbia university. she noted that european countries restrict hate speech laws recently have been ravaged strict hate speech laws recently -- with have been ravaged by intolerance and increasing inequality as well as rising levels of violence and hate. in conclusion, having gone beyond the theoretical justification that are asserted for censoring hate speech to examine how such censorship actually operates, i am more convinced than ever of the harms that censorship causes. likewise, i am more convinced than ever of the benefits that will continue to flow from our increasingly vigorous counter
thech, including from department of justice and other non-censorial countermeasures. i note these positive steps not to suggest we should rest on our laurels but exactly for the opposite reason, to rev up our resolve to continue fighting for all of the important goals at starks stake, liberty, equality , democracy, individual well-being, and societal harmony. the progress we made on these essential goals has flowed from speech not from censorship. so we should feel encouraged to stay the course, working together, despite disagreements on other issues. i think, or i know all of us here are bound in this common cause. we must all continue to exercise what is the most essential right overall, for protecting all of these vital causes.
that is our right, not to remain silent. thank you very much. [applause] >> who was martin van buren? good question. a lot of people me to ask that question. he was the eighth president of oftenited states and is forgotten. his presidency was four years long. >> on q&a, ted would murder on his biography of martin van buren. >> he spent a lot of time with aaron burr. there were rumors persistent thatghout his life gorbachev planted them in his novel burr, that martin van
buren may have been the illegitimate son of aaron burr. we do not know. adams wrote in his diary that martin van buren looks a lot like ehrenberg and ,cts a lot like ehrenberg always trying to organize factions and get southerners and northerners in political alliance together. at 8:00 eastern on q&a. ♪ >> washington journal is live every day with policy issues that effect you. monday morning, bloomberg news reporter and npr's white house correspondent discussed the week .head in congress the center for strategic and international study and ounces -- will talk aut