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Political Free Speech or Hate Speech? The Role and Responsibility of the State and Social Media Companies

March 8, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EST

The debate over differences in U.S. and European speech rights is a perennial issue. But, the emergence of private social media platforms – and their dominance – has given the issue a new dimension and a new sense of urgency. What is the role and responsibility of the state and private companies in terms of monitoring and preventing hate speech? Where is the dividing line between free speech and censorship?

Join the American Council on Germany, the Max Planck Law Network, and the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association for a discussion with Prof. Dr. Ralf Poscher, Dir­ect­or at the Max Planck In­sti­tute for the Study of Crime, Se­cur­ity and Law, in Freiburg, Germany, and Nadine Strossen, John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School. The discussion will be moderated by Russell Miller, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Max Planck Law Network and J.B. Stombock Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University.

Prof. Dr. Ralf Poscher has been the Dir­ect­or of the Max Planck In­sti­tute for the Study of Crime, Se­cur­ity, and Law, in Freiburg, Germany since 2019. He has been a Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Freiburg since 2009, serving as the Dir­ect­or of the Center for Se­cur­ity and So­ci­ety from 2013 to 2018 and as Dean of the Law Faculty from 2018 to 2019. His fields of expertise include: German constitutional rights, the right to education and inclusion, freedom of religion, the right to human dignity, German constitutional history, legal cultures, legal theory, and legal philosophy. In 2007-2008 he was a member of the School of Social Sciences at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton.

Prof. Dr. Poscher is (co-)author of Der Verfassungskompromiß zum Religionsunterricht [The German constitutional compromise on religious instruction in schools] (2000), Grundrechte als Abwehrrechte [Fundamental rights as negative rights] (2003), Menschenwürde im Staatsnotstand [Human dignity in a state of emergency] (2006), Das Recht auf Bildung [The right to education] (2009), and Grundrechte. Staatsrecht II [Fundamental rights. Constitutional law II] (2014). Prof. Dr. Poscher studied law at the Uni­versity of Bonn, the Uni­versité de Bour­gone (Di­jon), the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics and Polit­ic­al Sci­ence, and Hum­boldt Uni­versity Ber­lin.

Nadine Strossen, the John Marshall Harlan II Professor Emerita at New York Law School and the past President of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008), is a leading expert and frequent speaker/ commentator on constitutional law and civil liberties, who 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 Professor Strossen one of America’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers,” and several other national publications have named her one of the country’s most influential women.

Professor Strossen’s 2018 book HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship has earned praise from ideologically diverse experts, including Harvard Professor Cornel West and Princeton Professor Robert George. Washington University selected HATE as its 2019 “Common Read.” 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. 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. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


March 8, 2021
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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