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

Purchase Featured Book

Buy Featured Book

Title
The Complete Transcripts of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill Hearings: October 11, 12, 13, 1991
Author
Nina Totenberg (Introduction) , Anita Miller (Editor)

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Supreme Court Rules Racial Testimony Influenced Inmate's Death Sentence

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/516695440/516695443" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Attorney Bob Hilliard — representing the family of Mexican teenager Sergio Adrian Hernandez, who was shot and killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent — speaks in front of the Supreme Court after presenting his argument on Tuesday. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Conservative Justices Skeptical Of Extending Constitution Beyond U.S. Border

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/516491790/516517157" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Supreme Court Considers If Mexican Nationals Can Sue For Border Shooting

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/516488417/516488421" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Relatives of Sergio Hernández sit in Ciudad Juarez at the U.S.-Mexico border, on the second anniversary of his killing in 2012. Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images

Supreme Court To Decide If Mexican Nationals May Sue For Border Shooting

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/515625917/516375497" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

President Trump speaks at the Major Cities Chiefs Association and Major County Sheriff's Association meeting in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 8. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Trump's Criticism Of Judges Out Of Line With Past Presidents

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/514587731/514650966" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Appeals Court Considers Whether To Lift Stay On Immigration Order

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/513981813/514005204" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (center) arrives with former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Capitol Hill last week for a meeting with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. There are different kinds of conservative judges, from the pragmatist to the originalist. Gorsuch is a self-proclaimed originalist. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Susan Walsh/AP

Judge Gorsuch's Originalism Contrasts With Mentor's Pragmatism

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/513331261/513388171" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch faces members of the media while meeting with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in his Senate office. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump's Supreme Court Pick Is A Disciple Of Scalia's 'Originalist' Crusade

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/512891485/513105116" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch looks on as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley speaks to reporters before their meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Democrats In Political Quagmire Over Supreme Court Nomination

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/512927350/512998478" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Partisan Battle Expected Over Gorsuch's High Court Nomination

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/512799902/512799903" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Speculation Swirls Around Two Names For Supreme Court Slot

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/512702613/512702614" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Trump Expected To Announce Supreme Court Nominee This Week

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/512501512/512501513" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript