Position within the Trump Administration: Giuliani is being considered for Secretary of State and Homeland Security Secretary

Previous positions: Mayor of New York City (1994-2011); Attorney General, Southern District of New York (1983-1989); Associate Attorney General (1981-1983)

  • During his tenure as mayor, the New York Civil Liberties Union participated in some capacity in thirty-four First Amendment cases involving Giuliani’s administration. Noted First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams described Giuliani as “the single most consistent opponent of First Amendment rights in living memory.”
  • Giuliani spoke on the subject of freedom during a 1994 speech regarding urban crime, saying: “What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do. You have free speech so I can be heard.”
  • In 1997, as Mayor, Giuliani had the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, a quasi-public organization, pull a series of bus advertisements for New York Magazine which made an unflattering statement about him. Giuliani, who argued that the use of his name without his permission violated his personal privacy and commercial rights, had city lawyers defend his case (unsuccessfully) when New York Magazine sued for an injunction.
  • In April 1999, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression awarded Giuliani the first “Lifetime Muzzle award,” given to spotlight his attacks on the First Amendment. In giving the award, the organization stated, “He has stifled speech and press to so unprecedented a degree, and in so many and varied forms, that simply keeping up with the city’s censorious activity has proved a challenge for defenders of free expression.”
  • Also in 1999, as mayor of New York, Giuliani spearheaded an attempt to pull city funding from the Brooklyn Museum if it failed to cancel an exhibition he declared to be “disgusting”, containing “sick stuff”, and offensive to Roman Catholics (Giuliani is himself Catholic). The withdrawal of city funding would have deprived the Museum of nearly one-third of its budget. The Museum filed a complaint in federal court to prevent the cutting off of funds and won, with the Judge finding that, “The facts establish an ongoing effort by the mayor and the city to coerce the museum into relinquishing its First Amendment rights.”

The Free Expression Report Cards are just one initiative of PENt-Up: The PEN Transition Update, PEN America’s effort to track, analyze, and share important expression-related updates as our nation undergoes transformation into an America we all hope to still recognize. Read more at PEN.org/pent-up