Nina Totenberg Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent.
Nina Totenberg at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)
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Nina Totenberg

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Nina Totenberg at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)
Allison Shelley/NPR

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. She is often featured in documentaries — most recently RBG — that deal with issues before the court. As Newsweek put it, "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, including 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 more than two dozen honorary degrees. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships."

A frequent contributor on TV shows, Totenberg has also written for major newspapers and periodicals — among them, The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor and New York Magazine, and others. On a lighter note, Esquire magazine twice named her one of the "Women We Love."

Story Archive

Thursday

Supreme Court rejects challenge to abortion pill accessibility

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The Supreme Court ruled against a liberal activist who tried to trademark the phrase "Trump too small," which he put on T-shirts and sold. Luke Hales/Getty Images hide caption

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The abortion drug Mifepristone, which was approved by the FDA, is part of a two-drug regimen to induce an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. The Supreme Court's decision will keep the drug on sale for now. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images North America hide caption

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Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images North America

Supreme Court rejects challenge to FDA's approval of mifepristone

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Tuesday

The statue Guardian or Authority of Law sits above the west front plaza of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 7 in Washington, D.C. Among the rulings the court is expected to issue by the end of June are cases about access to abortion pills dispensed by mail, gun restrictions, the power of regulatory agencies and former President Donald Trump’s bid to avoid criminal charges for trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Thursday

With summer break approaching, the Supreme Court has a slew of cases to rule on

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Wednesday

Thursday

Supreme Court rules in S.C. gerrymandering case

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Thursday

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the way the CFPB is funded. Al Drago/Getty Images hide caption

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Al Drago/Getty Images

Supreme Court upholds funding structure for consumer watchdog agency

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Wednesday

Thursday

Speranza Scappucci conducts singers on stage and the orchestra in the pit for the Washington National Opera's production of Turandot. Keren Carrión/NPR hide caption

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Keren Carrión/NPR

One of opera's greatest hits gets a new and happy ending in Washington

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Friday

The conservative justices of the U.S. Supreme Court Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Trump's immunity arguments and the experiences of the justices who might support it

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Thursday

Supreme Court to hear historic arguments on Trump's immunity claim

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The Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday about whether a president enjoys broad immunity from criminal prosecution after leaving office. Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Bloomberg via Getty Images

Supreme Court appears skeptical of blanket immunity for a former president

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Wednesday

The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case examining a federal-state conflict over emergency abortions. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Catie Dull/NPR

Heated arguments at the Supreme Court in newest abortion case

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The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case from Idaho that centers on abortion rights. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Catie Dull/NPR

Supreme Court to examine a federal-state conflict over emergency abortions

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Wednesday

Tuesday

Supreme Court hears challenge to a statute used to try hundreds of Jan. 6 rioters

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The Supreme Court will review part of a federal obstruction law that has been used to prosecute some of those individuals involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Catie Dull/NPR

Supreme Court hears challenge to law used to prosecute hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants

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Monday

Tuesday

Justices seem skeptical of challenge to restrict access to abortion pill

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Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 16, 2022. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

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Patrick Semansky/AP

Supreme Court seems doubtful of challenge to abortion pill

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