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.

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Story Archive

David Cortman of the Alliance Defending Freedom speaks after representing Trinity Lutheran Church before the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Concerned Women for America hosted a rally in support of the Missouri church on the court steps. Lauren Russell/NPR hide caption

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In Church-State Playground Brawl, Justices Lean Toward The Church

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Supreme Court Considers Separation Of Church And State In Playground Case

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Children play on the playground at the Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center in Columbia, Mo. Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom hide caption

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Playground Case Could Breach Barrier Between Tax Coffers, Religious Schools

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President Trump introduces Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in the Rose Garden after Gorsuch's swearing-in on April 10. Eric Thayer/Getty Images hide caption

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Justice Gorsuch Finds His 'Easier' Solution Has Few Takers On 1st Day

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Neil Gorsuch Sworn In As 9th Justice On The Supreme Court

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Senate Invokes 'Nuclear Option' To Ease Gorsuch Nomination

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Republicans' 'Nuclear Option' Could Have Lasting Effects On Federal Judiciary

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Democrats Secure Votes To Filibuster Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch

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Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee meet to debate and vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court on Monday. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Supreme Court Rejects Texas Standard For Mental Disability In Capital Cases

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Disability Standards In Death Row Cases

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Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

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