Nina Totenberg Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent.
Asa Mathat
Nina Totenberg
Asa Mathat

Nina Totenberg

Correspondent, Legal Affairs

Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

Totenberg's coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition. Newsweek says, "The mainstays [of NPR] are Morning Edition and All Things Considered. But the creme de la creme is Nina Totenberg."

In 1991, her ground-breaking report about University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas led the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearings to consider Hill's charges. NPR received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for its gavel-to-gavel coverage — anchored by Totenberg — of both the original hearings and the inquiry into Anita Hill's allegations, and for Totenberg's reports and exclusive interview with Hill.

That same coverage earned Totenberg additional awards, among them: the Long Island University George Polk Award for excellence in journalism; the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting; the Carr Van Anda Award from the Scripps School of Journalism; and the prestigious Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs/public policy reporting, which also acknowledged her coverage of Justice Thurgood Marshall's retirement.

Totenberg was named Broadcaster of the Year and honored with the 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the National Press Foundation. She is the first radio journalist to receive the award. She is also the recipient of the American Judicature Society's first-ever award honoring a career body of work in the field of journalism and the law. In 1988, Totenberg won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her coverage of Supreme Court nominations. The jurors of the award stated, "Ms. Totenberg broke the story of Judge (Douglas) Ginsburg's use of marijuana, raising issues of changing social values and credibility with careful perspective under deadline pressure."

Totenberg has been honored seven times by the American Bar Association for continued excellence in legal reporting and has received a number of honorary degrees. On a lighter note, in 1992 and 1988 Esquire magazine named her one of the "Women We Love".

A frequent contributor to major newspapers and periodicals, she has published articles in The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Parade Magazine, New York Magazine, and others.

Before joining NPR in 1975, Totenberg served as Washington editor of New Times Magazine, and before that she was the legal affairs correspondent for the National Observer.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Supreme Court Case Asks: How Much Do Partygoers Need To Know About The Party House?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/556405459/556405460" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Demonstrators protest outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday as the court hears arguments about partisan gerrymandering. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Partisan Gerrymandering: How Much Is Too Much?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/555425809/555425810" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court To Weigh In On Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/555266296/555266297" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Supreme Court, pictured in June, opened its new term on Monday. The justices heard arguments in a case about nonunion employees' right to take action against alleged illegality by their employer. Eric Thayer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Supreme Court Set To Consider Slate Of Divisive Issues In New Session

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/555170304/555170305" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Maureen Scalia holds one of her favorite photos of her and her husband, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in their home in Virginia. Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR

Antonin Scalia's Less Well-Known Legacy: His Speeches

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/554478768/555710528" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In this March 10, 2014, photo, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips decorates a cake inside his store, in Lakewood, Colo. Brennan Linsley/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Brennan Linsley/AP

Supreme Court To Open A Whirlwind Term

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/554538819/554994478" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Trump Administration Expected To Issue New Travel Restrictions

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/552986991/552986992" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Edith Windsor, Gay Rights Activist And Plaintiff In Landmark Supreme Court Case, Dies

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/550503722/550503725" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A demonstrator holds a sign protesting the travel ban in Honolulu in June. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday sued the latest ruling against the Trump administration's order. Caleb Jones/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Caleb Jones/AP

Trump Judicial Nominees Keep Mostly Mum In Confirmation Hearings

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/549098287/549098316" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript